The effect of different audit patterns on future compliance is studied in two experiments. A repeated measures design is used with participants filing taxes 60 times. Study 1 focuses on taxpayers' immediate reactions to audits and examines whether a strong decrease in compliance following an audit is caused by either misperception of chance or loss repair. The second purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of audit positioning in a "taxpaying life span". The results suggest that the decrease of compliance found after an audit is most likely caused by misperception of chance, while loss-repair tendencies are of moderate relevance. Moreover, results confirm that contrary to later audits, early audit experiences in a "taxpaying life span" lead to increased compliance. Independent of audit positioning, compliance decreases if participants are not audited over an extended period of time. It is hypothesized that just one further audit may suffice to increase compliance again. Study 2 confirms this assumption. The results show the relevance of specific audit patterns on tax compliance. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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