Public trusts tax authorities more when corruption is less – shows global survey

22 September 2022

Taxpayers’ attitudes about paying taxes correlate closely with perceived levels of corruption, according to a major new study, by accountancy bodies ACCA and the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).

Data has been collected since 2017 across the G20 on attitudes and opinions of the public. A survey across 14 countries found that trust in tax systems is lower when taxpayers perceive higher levels of corruption and diversion of public funds.

SAIBA was asked to participate in the roundtable discussions as part of the stakeholder feedback process for the African region. Comments from these discussions incorporated in the final report.

According to Helen Brand, chief executive ACCA: ‘Fighting corruption is such a central priority for the global accountancy profession because corruption has such negative implications for trust, tax morale and sustainable development more broadly. We know from research by the IMF that economic growth goes hand in hand with a consistent stream of tax revenues.’

Kevin Dancey, chief executive IFAC, says: ‘The relationship between taxpayers and governments, and between businesses, society and tax systems is fundamental to the sustainability – and survival – of the economies that support us all, in both the short and long term. Our Trust in Tax surveys provide crucial insight into these relationships and can help global policymakers as they consider the best way forward.’

IFAC’s recently released Action Plan for Fighting Corruption and Economic Crime outlines specific actions that members of the profession can take to fight against corruption. ‘Given the correlation between perceived levels of corruption and citizens’ willingness to pay taxes, this plan is an important effort to help ensure that citizens see the benefits of their tax dollars,’ said Mr. Dancey. You can read the article and download the full publication here.

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