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An investigation of the effects of complexity in federal income tax laws on the compliance of nonresident students
This research explores the impact of complexity in
federal income tax laws on taxpayer compliance. The primary
research question is: Is complexity in the tax law
associated with noncompliance? The research is unique in
that previous work has not yet demonstrated an a priori
circumstance in which taxpayers do not comply with the law
when compliance would be in their economic self-interest.
"Economic self-interest" is narrowly construed in this
study, being defined as an individual's utility for saving
tax dollars. "Complexity" is operationalized by the system
of nonresident taxation. A situation is investigated
wherein a set of taxpayers do not comply, when there is
complexity in the tax law, even though compliance would
reduce their tax liability. Examining compliance in this
setting renders it unlikely that the confound opportunity to
evade is related to observed noncompliance. The results
indicate complexity is the key explanatory variable for
noncompliance found in this study.