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The role of security and trust in the adoption of online tax filing

Lemuria Carter (Department of Accounting, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA)
Ludwig Christian Shaupp (Department of Accounting, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA)
Jeffrey Hobbs (Walker College of Business, Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina, USA)
Ronald Campbell (Department of Accounting, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA)

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy

ISSN: 1750-6166

Article publication date: 2 August 2011




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the influence of six determinants on taxpayers' intention to adopt e‐file systems. The proposed model integrates technology adoption factors from the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT) model with personal perceptions on trust, efficacy, and security into one parsimonious yet explanatory model of e‐file adoption.


A survey was administered to 304 US taxpayers to capture their perceptions of e‐filing. The survey was developed using existing scales in the literature. Responses were measured on a seven‐point Likert scale, ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). The results were tested using multiple linear regression analysis.


The findings of this research show that theoretical constructs from the UTAUT model are well suited in explaining intentions to use multiple e‐government services. Specifically, the results indicate that three factors from the UTAUT model (performance expectancy, effort expectancy, and social influence) play a significant role in predicting taxpayers' e‐filing intentions. More importantly, the research findings indicate that personal factors (web‐specific self‐efficacy (WSSE) and perceived security control), along with UTAUT factors, have a significant impact on taxpayers' e‐file intentions. The proposed model explains 63.5 percent of the variance in taxpayers' e‐file intentions.

Research limitations/implications

This study contributes to the literature by integrating determinants from the UTAUT model with personal perception factors to explain e‐file adoption. This merging of UTAUT with theories, such as social cognition, that emphasize human perception, is the direction that must be taken by researchers in an effort to understand taxpayers' intentions to adopt e‐file systems. While the proposed model explained 63.5 percent of the variation in e‐file use intention, there are limitations to this research. The participants in this research are not sufficiently diverse in culture, socio‐economic level, etc. and 89 percent of the research participants are Caucasian. In addition, the participants were recruited from limited geographical locations. The strength of the model should be validated using more diverse research participants that will increase the variation in the data collected.


The paper presents a parsimonious, yet integrated, model of e‐file diffusion. The integration of adoption factors with personal perceptions of trust, efficacy, and security represents a significant step forward in explaining e‐file adoption.



Carter, L., Christian Shaupp, L., Hobbs, J. and Campbell, R. (2011), "The role of security and trust in the adoption of online tax filing", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 303-318.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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