Study on system fairness dimensions and tax compliance in the Middle East context


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People’s perceptions of a fair tax administration system have garnered growing interest as a decisive ingredient that can install compliance behavior among taxpayers. The tax that taxpayers wish to evade is determined by their perceptions of the various robust dimensions of fairness (i.e., general fairness, preferred tax rate structure, exchange with the government, special provisions, and self-interest). Such an important matter, like tax fairness, has been overlooked in the extant literature, especially in the Middle East context, although tax administrations still suffer from low and unsatisfactory rates of compliance. This paper aims to empirically examine the influence of fairness perceptions of the income tax system on compliance behavior of taxpayers in Yemen. The study used a survey questionnaire administered to 400 individual taxpayers in Hadhramout, one of the most prosperous business regions in Yemen. Based on the PLS-SEM analysis tool, the study found that general system fairness, preferred tax rate, exchange with the government, and the extent of self-interest are significantly related to income tax compliance, while special provisions do not affect compliance decisions. The results of the study can alert the tax authority and policymakers to consider the non-pecuniary factors, other than the measures of the coercion. Establishing a fair tax system is probably one of the most successful approaches to boost compliance among taxpayers, thus yielding more tax revenue and diminishing the administrative cost for the tax authority.

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    • Figure 1. Measurement model
    • Figure 2. Structural model
    • Table 1. Convergent validity
    • Table 2. Discriminant validity
    • Table 3. Structural model