Transparent tax system must be a priority for all countries, says ACCA

June 20, 2013 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
An open, transparent and user-friendly tax system will benefit taxpayers individuals as well as businesses - who currently face a mountain of tax rules which obscures who pays what taxes, says ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) following the G8 conference discussions on tax avoidance this week.

ACCA says that the complexity of some tax regimes blurs the line over what taxes business and individuals should be paying when a more open, simple system would make it easier for taxpayers and the tax authorities to understand and collect tax respectively.

Chas Roy-Chowdhury, ACCA head of taxation, said: "A transparent, user-friendly tax system is something we all want and is an aspiration all tax regimes should strive to achieve. Professional bodies, such as ACCA, have a part to play in liaising with policy makers in developing a tax system that is open and simple so that the affairs of corporations and individuals are visible. The benefit of a more open tax system is not only to see who pays what, which was the topic of discussion at G8 this week, but also to help people and businesses understand why they are paying certain taxes.

"Currently, in Australia and New Zealand as well as many other markets, there are too many rules and laws on tax, but it needs to be kept to a minimum to help over-burdened small businesses and entrepreneurs and help make the system more open. Complex tax regimes blur what should be an easy to understand system."

Duty to pay more tax?

ACCA says that the issue of whether there is some duty to pay more tax than the law requires is one which governments and legislators will be hard pressed to legislate for.

Chas Roy-Chowdhury added: "Whether or not there is duty to pay more tax goes to the heart of the public and media debate going on around this issue of everyone paying their "fair share". A recent case in Canada's Federal Appeal Court saw Justice K Sharlow say that it was not ever necessary to evaluate the morality of a taxpayer's conduct where they had abided by the tax laws, in that case the Income Tax Act. Accountants' first duty is to put their client's interests first and as long as they act within the law they will look to advise in a way that puts their client in the most advantageous economic position.

"It is hard to see how any government could legislate to the counter that and instil a moral duty to pay more tax than the law requires them to pay. Legislating for what is a morally acceptable amount to pay beyond that required by law would be a challenge for legislators the world over, the same legislators who have made it possible, by law, to reduce an individual's or company's tax bill."

For more information, please contact:
Steve Rudaini, ACCA Newsroom
+ 44 (0) 207 059 5622
+44 (0) 7801 133985
Notes to Editors
1. ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We aim to offer 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.
2. We support our 162,000 members and 426,000 students in 173 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. We work through a network of over 89 offices and centres and more than 8,400 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through our public interest remit, we promote appropriate regulation of accounting and conduct relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence.
3. Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability. We believe that accountants bring value to economies in all stages of development and seek to develop capacity in the profession and encourage the adoption of global standards. Our values are aligned to the needs of employers in all sectors and we ensure that through our qualifications, we prepare accountants for business. We seek to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds and remove artificial barriers, innovating our qualifications and delivery to meet the diverse needs of trainee professionals and their employers.