Since the first study of tax compliance costs in 1973 there have been numerous studies of different taxes in many different countries. Unfortunately, most of these studies have adopted the same approach as the seminal study, even though the complexity of the issues involved rarely make this appropriate.

The wide variations in the outcomes of these studies suggest that the accuracy and reliability of the results are closely related to the method of research employed. This paper examines the best and worst of current practice, identifies common deficiencies and makes recommendations for improvements in the manner in which tax compliance research in conducted.