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Compliance behaviour from the holistic human nature perspective

Fidiana Fidiana (Department of Accounting, Sekolah Tinggi Ilmu Ekonomi Indonesia Surabaya, Surabaya, Indonesia)

Journal of Islamic Accounting and Business Research

ISSN: 1759-0817

Article publication date: 7 February 2020

Issue publication date: 17 April 2020




Previous studies on tax compliance have not internally failed to consider why individuals avoid tax payments. The purpose of this paper is to explore the compliance behaviour of Indonesian taxpayers from holistic human nature perspectives including their rational, social and spiritual values.


This paper adopts the tabayyun approach, an interpretive conceptualised methodology using Islamic knowledge to explore taxpayers' rational, social and spiritual realities.


Tax compliance is influenced by holistic factors: personal economic rational, social consensus and spiritual beliefs. Rational taxpayers distrust tax authority and see tax payments as an economic decision (i.e. costs and benefits) that reduces/increases wealth. So, they tend to avoid or reconfigure payments. Opposite to economic rationally is the societal pressure upon taxpayers to converge to being an acceptable citizen with legitimate businesses. Under this view, no mistrust against tax authority exists. As for the spiritual factor, tax payments are seen as religious duties like zakat that ought to be paid for achieving spiritual alleviation.

Research limitations/implications

Due to the research approach, this study results may lack generalisation. Future research can expand broader understanding of religious belief in corporation with compliance behaviour.

Practical implications

In the tax policy context, this study recommends to take into consideration religious levy being included in the tax system. This study also argues substituting tax with zakat. In Indonesia, religious levy takes more essential roles in the spiritual domain rather than economical domain.

Social implications

It is difficult to expect tax compliance to be an internal compliance because the source of the command is of an external origin. It is considered as a new concept of wealth distribution that comes from an internal attribute. For states that have religious population as Indonesia, religious values become communal bonds that more dominantly form self-identity at both physical and mental levels. Hence, it is very essential for the state to consider the inclusion of religious values or teachings to the regulation, if the state wants such regulation to be adhered significantly by people. The collection instrument whose bonds originated in religious moral/spiritual values can raise the awareness and compliance voluntarily because the command source is internal and autonomous.


This study fills the gaps in the taxation literature by incorporating a spiritual perspective, instead of rational and social domains.



Fidiana, F. (2020), "Compliance behaviour from the holistic human nature perspective", Journal of Islamic Accounting and Business Research, Vol. 11 No. 5, pp. 1145-1158.



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