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Tax Professionals Enjoy High Levels of Trust, Global Survey Finds

By:
S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Sep 14, 2022

Professional tax accountants outside G20 countries maintain a high level of trust when it comes to the tax system, a survey conducted by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the International Federation of Accountants has found, Accounting Today reported.

The ACCA has been conducting a survey about "the attitudes and opinions of the general public towards their tax systems, and the actors involved in them" since 2017. This year’s edition, Public trust in tax: global perspectives 2022, is the first one “to look beyond the G20 [to provide] an insight into whom the general public trust and what concerns them about their respective tax systems.”  The G20 countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union. They are the world's wealthiest countries, and they account for 59 percent of the world’s population. 

The ACCA surveyed almost 5,600 people in 14 countries comprising more than 30 percent of the world’s population growth. The countries were Angola, Colombia, Cote D’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, and Vietnam. The ACCA found that 67.1 percent of the respondents trust or highly trust professional tax accountants. Slightly fewer, 64.6 percent, said that they trust or highly trust professional tax lawyers. Fewer than half, 41.2 percent, reported using a professional tax accountant.  

Overwhelming majorities of respondents clearly believed that accountants contribute to a more efficient, more effective and fairer tax system.

Online services were the most commonly used services in managing tax affairs. Forty-two percent reported using them, as opposed to only 36.9 percent among the G20 countries surveyed in 2021.

Trust in accountants was the highest of every stakeholder group in every country surveyed. The highest prevalence was in Nigeria (80.4 percent), while the lowest was in Angola (47 percent).

Not all the survey responses were positive. While, overall, the respondents said that they trust tax authorities, more than one quarter of them either distrusted or highly distrusted their tax authority. Those authorities still fared better than politicians and social media reports; these had a net trust deficit of -25.7 percent and -8.6 percent, respectively.

"This new survey comes at a time of uncertainty as governments around the globe come to grips with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and the implications of the Russian invasion of Ukraine," said ACCA chief executive Helen Brand during an online panel discussion. "Pre-existing global megatrends and challenges such as climate change and changes in population patterns have highlighted the importance of creating a more sustainable and importantly fairer world. The importance of tax systems in building resilient economies cannot be overstated."

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