Global Survey from IFAC, ACCA, CA ANZ of G20 Countries Find Citizens Want More Coherent International Tax System; Distrust Politicians on Tax Issues
The citizens of G20 countries are more concerned that their government cooperates with other countries for a more coherent international tax system, than competes for national interests such as increasing tax revenue or attracting multinational business, a new survey finds.
G20 Public Trust in Tax, prepared by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), IFAC (the International Federation of Accountants) and CA ANZ (Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand), draws on the views of more than 7,600 people across G20 countries, which account for two-thirds of the world population, 85% of the Gross World Product, and 75% of world trade.
Residents of G20 countries want governments to put tax cooperation ahead of tax competition – 73% of respondents think it is important or very important for governments to cooperate with each other on tax policy to create a more coherent international tax system; and were over 3.5 times more likely to favor cooperation over competition.
The survey also found people in G20 countries have become deeply distrustful of politicians when it comes to information about the tax system, with 67% either distrusting or highly distrusting politicians. Instead, they trust subject experts — 57% of respondents trust or highly trust professional tax accountants as a source of information about the tax system.
“Two thirds of respondents distrust or highly distrust politicians on the topic of tax. They are cutting through the political rhetoric, and instead place their trust with the experts,” said Russell Guthrie, Executive Director, External Affairs at IFAC. “Governments have work to do to rebuild public trust in tax systems. The accounting profession has always advocated for a ‘big picture’ approach to tax policymaking in the global economy—the complexity that exists now is counterproductive to the public interest.”
The survey found G20 residents are supportive of tax incentives for a range of social and economic objectives: 76% of respondents support government tax incentives for green energy projects, 74% for retirement planning, and 68% for infrastructure projects.
“While I wouldn’t support constant tinkering with the tax system by governments of G20 countries—as tax regimes need to be long-term and properly bedded down—it is interesting that people highly favor utilizing tax systems to achieve broad social and economic objectives,” said Chas Roy-Chowdhury, Head of Tax at ACCA.
The survey revealed diverse views on tax minimization throughout G20 countries, with results indicating that in English-speaking countries of the G20, there was skepticism around tax minimization. Respondents in Australia, Canada, the US and the UK tend to think that high income earners and multinational companies are not paying enough tax.
Respondents included individuals from G20 nations such as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. It offers business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. ACCA supports its 188,000 members and 480,000 students in 178 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 100 offices and centres and more than 7,110 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence. www.accaglobal.com
The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) is the global organization for the accountancy profession dedicated to serving the public interest by strengthening the profession and contributing to the development of strong international economies. IFAC is comprised of more than 175 members and associates in more than 130 countries and jurisdictions, representing almost 3 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce. www.ifac.org