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Tax avoidance and audit report lag in South Africa: the moderating effect of auditor type

Hela Gontara (Faculty of Economics and Management of Sfax, University of Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia)
Hichem Khlif (Faculty of Economics and Management of Sfax, University of Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia)

Journal of Financial Crime

ISSN: 1359-0790

Article publication date: 25 January 2021

Issue publication date: 5 August 2021

582

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the association between audit report lag (ARL) and tax avoidance and test whether external auditor type affects this relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

ARL is measured as the number of days from fiscal year-end to the date of the auditor’s report, while tax avoidance is measured using effective tax rate.

Findings

Using a sample of 45 South African companies over the period of 2010–2013, the authors document that ARL is positively associated with tax avoidance and this relationship remains positive when the company is audited by a Big-4 audit firm and not significant when the company is audited by a non-Big-4.

Originality/value

The authors’ findings have important implications for auditors aiming to reduce audit risk as they may consider the impact of tax avoidance and pay more attention to companies with a high degree of tax avoidance.

Keywords

Citation

Gontara, H. and Khlif, H. (2021), "Tax avoidance and audit report lag in South Africa: the moderating effect of auditor type", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 732-740. https://doi.org/10.1108/JFC-09-2020-0197

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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