What are the key determinants of taxpayer compliance? And which features of citizen-state relations govern attitudes and behaviour regarding taxation? This paper examines the analytical foundation, methodological approaches and key findings of available empirical literature on taxpayer behaviour in Africa. Understanding how citizens perceive and experience taxation may provide an essential diagnostic of the political realities for tax reform. Attempts to broaden the tax base require insights into how citizens experience and perceive the tax system, whether people perceive they are paying taxes or not, what they eventually pay, their views on tax administration and enforcement, and whether and how their tax behaviour is correlated with how they perceive the state. Attitude and perception surveys of current and potential taxpayers may also help to identify perceived weaknesses of the tax system, and enable tax authorities to focus attention efficiently on high-risk categories of taxpayers.