Tax morale measures taxpayer perceptions and attitudes towards paying and evading taxes. What creates tax morale? In other words, what makes you willing to pay taxes? Your belief in the integrity of government? Your perception of corruption? Your experience of public services? Your gender or even your religious belief? New OECD research shows that all of these factors are relevant, but the significance of each varies according to regional and local context.
Integrity is essential for the tax system, underpinning trust between taxpayers and governments and is a vital component of tax morale. OECD work on tax morale confirms that taxpayers' willingness to pay taxes is linked to their trust in institutions, perceptions of corruption, as well as satisfaction with public services. For example, recent improvements in the perceived legitimacy of tax authorities in Africa has impacted positively on the willingness of Africans to pay taxes. Yet building tax morale systematically in many developing countries is extremely challenging, made more so by the pervasive use of informal fees, extortion and protection payments — the equivalent of tax — that also shape citizens perceptions of both taxes and government.
There are a range of tools and approaches available to build tax morale through addressing integrity. These include the use of technology in tax administration; behavioural economics and 'nudging' in communications with taxpayers; earmarking specific taxes for certain expenditures; tax payer education strategies plus an active civil society able to scrutinize the integrity of public finances.
As part of OECD Integrity Week 2019 (18-22 March), this event brought together international experts to discuss these issues of integrity, transparency and trust in the tax system, and the research, tools and approaches needed to identify and implement policies to increase tax morale.
This meeting was broadcast live on OECD WebTV and replays are available under the "VOD" (Version on demand) tab.
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