The Public Trust in Tax survey which questioned 7,700 members of the public across the globe shows that accountants have a major role to play in addressing corruption, which negatively impact on attitudes towards tax in economies.
Results show that 53.8% consider corruption a major factor, however most people believe the role of professional accountants contributes to improving tax systems by making them more efficient (59%), more effective (57%), and fairer (55%).
The findings follow ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), IFAC (the International Federation of Accountants), and CA ANZ (Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand) expanding their biennial G20 Public Trust in Tax survey – which this time omitted Russia and included New Zealand – to address not only corruption but also the issues of sustainable development and corruption, and how these two interconnect with trust in the tax system. The results are clear.
Corruption has a significant impact on attitudes towards tax in economies across the globe, with over half of G20 respondents citing it as a major factor.
At the same time, 68% of respondents in G20 countries see at least some connection between tax and sustainable development, and 57% would be prepared to pay more tax to support it.
In this context, the continued high levels of trust in professional accountants are more important than ever. The results shows that they remain the single most trusted stakeholder in tax in every G20 country, as it has been the case in every biennial G20 Public Trust in Tax survey since the initiative began in 2017.
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.’
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.’
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.’
The survey reveals the attitudes and opinions of the general public towards their tax systems, and the actors involved in them. The key findings indicate that:
· Trust in key stakeholders has improved in most regions, but there are still significant variations;
· People see tax systems as a mechanism for positive change, but are concerned about corruption;
· People generally think that levels of taxes paid are reasonable.
This year’s survey is launched on 14 September at an online event hosted by IFAC, ACCA and CA ANZ. Register here.
The study is based on an online survey, conducted in the second quarter of 2023, of more than 7,700 individuals across all the G20 countries apart from Russia, plus New Zealand. The sample in each country is balanced by demographics based on census data, including age (targeting individuals of taxpaying age), education, gender, ethnicity, household income levels, and geographic location within the country.
Read the report here.