Trust corruption and sustainable development are interconnected issues in publics attitude towards tax

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Mumbai, September 14, 2023: 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 impacts 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 show that they remain the single most trusted stakeholder in tax in every G20 country, as has been the case in every biennial G20 Public Trust in Tax survey since the initiative began in 2017.

Md. Sajid Khan, Director – India of ACCA, says: ‘Professional accountants are an essential element of the tax ecosystem in India and around the world. It’s reassuring to see that this global survey reveals that India has the second highest levels of trust in professional accountants, with 72.5% of respondents saying that they ‘trust’ or ‘highly trust’ accountants over any other information source.’

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.’

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.