Generational Difference in Perception of Tax Equity and Attitudes Towards Compliance
University of Alabama
Martha L. Wartick
University of Northern Iowa
March 3, 2014
2014 American Taxation Association Midyear Meeting
Generational theory research suggests that the arrival of the Millennial generation into adulthood will have significant effects on society because of their differing values and attitudes. We examine whether this generation has differing perceptions of tax fairness and equity as well as their attitudes towards tax compliance as compared to other generations by administering an instrument to a sample of 303 taxpayers, distributed approximately equally across three generational groups: Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials. Each group answered a series of questions related to vertical equity, horizontal equity, and exchange equity. The results suggest that there are significant differences in the viewpoint toward vertical equity and progressive taxation among the three generations. More specifically, the Millennial generation was less likely to recommend progressive taxation than the other two generations. In addition, there were significant differences between the groups on an exchange equity question as well. However, in this situation, it was the Baby Boomers that were significantly different from the other two generations. The results also suggest that the Millennials have attitudes that are more accepting of noncompliance than both the Generation X participants and the Baby Boomer participants. However, a significant difference does not exist between the Baby Boomer participants and Generation X participants and their attitudes towards compliance.
Date posted: March 3, 2014