Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 18 Issue 3 (May/June 2008), Pages 153-267

‘But everyone else is doing it’: a closer look at the occupational taxpaying culture of one business sector (pages 194-210)


When individuals embark on their careers they not only become acculturated into their occupational sectors' day‐to‐day norms and practices, but also their taxpaying ones. Although the research on taxpaying cultures is still in its infancy, understanding more about taxpaying cultures could improve our understanding of the processes underlying tax compliance. To this end, this study aimed to build a detailed picture of the taxpaying culture (i.e. the norms and values) of one business sector—the hairdressing/beauty industry. Nineteen small business and self‐employed hairdressers/beauticians were interviewed and a variant of Grounded theory was used to uncover the main themes that ran through the interviews as a whole. The main themes that emerged—which appear to characterize this sector's culture—include a reliance on accountants/tax advisors, the notion of an acceptable level of cash‐in‐hand payments, and the use of different mental accounts for different types of income. Although some of these themes have already arisen in the small business literature they have often been couched in individualistic terms. We build a case that these issues are more cultural than individual—they are tied to occupational group membership as they are socially constructed within occupational groups and are a key component of the group's taxpaying culture. Implications and directions for future research are discussed. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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