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Investigating the determinants of experts' tax aggressiveness: Experience and personality traits


  • Blaufus, Kay
  • Zinowsky, Tim


This study analyzes how the Big Five personality traits and professional experience affect the aggressiveness of tax preparers' recommendations. To this aim, we conduct a survey among tax professionals of a Big Four accounting firm and tax students. Using treatment-effects regressions, we find that personality traits have direct and indirect effects on tax aggressiveness. The indirect effects are due to a selection effect. Personality traits affect the decision to remain in the organizational environment of the Big Four accounting firm, and the experience in this firm is significantly related to tax aggressiveness. Our data suggest that enhancing work experience at the accounting firm leads to lower tax aggressiveness and that the organizational culture appears to be an important determinant of tax aggressiveness. Moreover, we provide evidence that the danger of potential reputation losses reduces subjects' tax aggressiveness regardless of whether the subject is highly experienced.

Suggested Citation

  • Blaufus, Kay & Zinowsky, Tim, 2013. "Investigating the determinants of experts' tax aggressiveness: Experience and personality traits," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 151, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:arqudp:151

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Charness, Gary & Jackson, Matthew O., 2009. "The role of responsibility in strategic risk-taking," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 241-247, March.
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    3. Donna Bobek & Amy Hageman & Robin Radtke, 2010. "The Ethical Environment of Tax Professionals: Partner and Non-Partner Perceptions and Experiences," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 92(4), pages 637-654, April.
    4. Newberry, Kaye J. & Reckers, Philip M. J. & Wyndelts, Robert W., 1993. "An examination of tax practitioner decisions: The role of preparer sanctions and framing effects associated with client condition," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 439-452, June.
    5. Lang, Frieder R. & John, Dennis & Lüdtke, Oliver & Schupp, Jürgen & Wagner, Gert G., 2011. "Short Assessment of the Big Five: Robust Across Survey Methods Except Telephone Interviewing," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 548-567.
    6. Kaplan, Steven E. & Reckers, Philip M. J. & West, Stephen G. & Boyd, James C., 1988. "An examination of tax reporting recommendations of professional tax preparers," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 427-443, December.
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    8. Erard, Brian, 1993. "Taxation with representation : An analysis of the role of tax practitioners in tax compliance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 163-197, September.
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    11. O'Donnell, Ed. & Koch, Bruce & Boone, Jeff, 2005. "The influence of domain knowledge and task complexity on tax professionals' compliance recommendations," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 145-165, February.
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    More about this item


    tax preparers; tax aggressiveness; experience; personality traits; Big Five; reputation loss;

    JEL classification:

    • M40 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - General
    • M41 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Accounting - - - Accounting
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • H26 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Tax Evasion and Avoidance

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