Tax practitioners can play an important role in assisting taxpayers to meet their
compliance obligations. The increased use of tax practitioners over the past decade
suggests that more and more taxpayers are seeking their advice on the application of tax
legislation and assistance to ensure that they file accurate returns. This confirms that tax
practitioners are well positioned to influence the compliance decisions of taxpayers.
However, studies have shown that there is a disparity between the type of advice preferred
by taxpayers and that provided by tax practitioners. Since research that explores the
reasons for this disparity, particularly from a South African perspective, was found to be
limited, the objective of this study was to identify potential reasons for the disparity by
examining the factors that influence the behaviour of tax practitioners in the hope that this
might assist in managing the expectation gap between the type of advice desired by
taxpayers versus the type of advice provided by tax practitioners.
Using semi-structured interviews conducted with tax practitioners employed at a Big 4 firm,
a number of potential factors identified in previous studies were tested. The results proved
that the behaviour of tax practitioners is influenced by various factors that may all affect
the manner in which advice is given to clients and the nature of such advice.