Date of Award

Fall 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)



First Advisor

Thomas J. Phillips


The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines the estimate of the difference between the federal income tax due each year and the amount voluntarily and timely paid as the "tax gap". In 1981, the Service reports a tax gap of 81.5 billion dollars. In 2006, the most recent IRS data indicates that the tax gap has risen to 345 billion dollars which suggests that tax evasion in the United States remains a growing concern for the federal government. Although various economic and nonpecuniary theories have been developed to investigate tax noncompliance, Jackson and Milliron (1986) and Cruz et al. (2000) suggest that future research should investigate the importance of ideological factors.

Specifically, this study addresses questions concerning the importance of religion and morality with respect to the ethical evaluation of tax evasion intentions. The respondents' levels of religiousness (i.e., intrinsic versus extrinsic), morality (i.e., postconventional reasoning), and ethicality are assessed to develop a structural model of the ideological factors of tax compliance. Primarily, the study finds that higher levels of intrinsic religiousness and postconventional morality are associated with higher evaluations that tax evasion is unethical. Also, increases in intrinsic religiousness are significantly associated with decreases in tax evasion intentions controlling for the effects of ethicality. However, neither extrinsic religiousness nor postconventional morality is related to tax evasion intentions in light of the ethical evaluations.

This study's results may be used by the IRS to introduce the ideological phenomena of religiousness, morality, and ethicality concerning the reduction of the tax gap.

Included in

Accounting Commons