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Findings from the recently published Public Trust in Tax report show that accountants have a significant role to play in the improvement of tax systems. The online survey, which was completed by 7,700 members of the public around the world, showed that most people believe accountants can help make tax systems more efficient (59%), more fair (55%) and more effective (57%).

The biannual report is the result of a collaboration between ACCA, IFAC and CA ANZ to survey the public level of trust in tax across the G20. And while the level of trust in accountants when it comes to tax is strong, it is also evident from the report that there is concern about the impact of corruption and how tax systems can support public policy.

There were three key findings from the report:

  • Trust in key stakeholders has improved in most areas, but there are still substantial variations
  • The public see tax systems as a vehicle for positive change, but are concerned about corruption
  • People generally feel that levels of taxes paid are reasonable

With corruption, the survey demonstrates that this is having a significant impact on attitudes towards tax in economies across the globe, with over half of G20 respondents citing it as a major factor.

With the point of corruption in tax in mind, it’s interesting to see what the CEOs of the professional bodies involved in putting together the survey said:

Helen Brand, chief executive of ACCA, says: "Throughout the course of these surveys, public unease about how tax moneys are spent has been a constant theme in respondents’ comments. Perceptions of corruption are a clear barrier to engagement with the tax system. Accountants have a central role to play in countering corruption, bringing transparency and accountability to the collection and spending of taxes across both public and private sectors.”

Kevin Dancey, CEO of IFAC, says: "The impact of corruption on trust in tax has been an emerging theme in our recent surveys, particularly in our 2022 Global Perspectives report, which focuses on jurisdictions outside of the G20. Now, for the first time, we have specific data on that point, and the results are illuminating. Taken together with the continued trust in professional accountants, and additional new data on views about sustainable development, insight into the important interconnections between these issues is starting to come into view.”

Ainslie van Onselen, CEO of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ), says: "As leaders in the global accountancy profession, we are proud to see the sustained high levels of trust in professional accountants, which is hard won, but easily lost. It is vital that we constantly work to maintain and earn trust through both our individual and collective actions. Now, more than ever, the relationship between taxpayers, businesses and governments must be strengthened to provide security and certainty for our broader societies and economies and we look forward to continuing to engage with key stakeholders to drive trust in tax and trust in our profession.”

Going forward, it will be interesting to see if the level of trust in accountants explored in the report, and their impact on tax systems, can be maintained. Public trust leads to greater compliance and it also helps to strengthen social cohesion which enables governments to tackle long-term societal challenges.

You can read the full report here.

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