Professionals' Tax Liability Assessments and Ethical Evaluations in an Equitable Relief Innocent Spouse Case

Posted: 23 Dec 2015

See all articles by Gary Fleischman

Gary Fleischman

Texas Tech University

Sean Valentine

University of North Dakota - College of Business & Public Administration

Date Written: December 21, 2015

Abstract

This study used a national sample of professionals and a questionnaire containing equitable relief vignettes to explore whether the new equitable relief subset of the revised innocent spouse rules is helpful to the IRS when making relief decisions. The study also addressed the ethical and gender issues associated with equitable relief innocent spouse cases. The results suggested that several equitable relief factors are useful as discriminators in the relief decision. The results also demonstrated that the recognition of an ethical issue and perceptions of moral intensity affected the decision to grant relief in innocent spouse situations. Finally, women subjects were more ethical and more sympathetic toward the victim in an innocent spouse situation than were their male counterparts. These findings have numerous personal and societal implications for businesses, IRS agents, CPAs, and attorneys, as well as other nations wishing to reform their tax structures while assessing the tradeoff between equity and tax revenue generation.

Suggested Citation

Fleischman, Gary and Valentine, Sean, Professionals' Tax Liability Assessments and Ethical Evaluations in an Equitable Relief Innocent Spouse Case (December 21, 2015). Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 42, 2003: 27-44., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2706852

Gary Fleischman (Contact Author)

Texas Tech University ( email )

2500 Broadway
Lubbock, TX 79409
United States

Sean Valentine

University of North Dakota - College of Business & Public Administration ( email )

Grand Forks, ND 58105
United States

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