Do South African small businesses prefer conservative tax advice to aggressive tax advice?
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Taxpayers’ relationship with tax practitioners may influence tax compliance behaviour. International research has been inconclusive on whether taxpayers prefer conservative tax approaches or more aggressive approaches. There has been only limited research on taxpayers’ preferences in South Africa. Several tax relief measures are available to South African small businesses as growing enterprises, but such entities may lack skilled tax staff and they therefore rely on tax practitioners. The first objective of this study is to determine whether such taxpayers prefer conservative or aggressive tax advice from practitioners. The second objective is to determine whether small business taxpayers would continue to use their tax practitioners’ services if they disagree with a suggested tax approach. Questionnaires were sent to 50 small businesses in a rural South African town. The data showed that most participating small business taxpayers prefer conservative advice but will agree with the tax practitioner, irrespective of the type of tax advice offered. As long as the advice does not involve tax evasion, they prefer to retain a tax practitioner’s services irrespective of the type of advice and their (dis)agreeing with it.