Campaigners’ code beats tax industry to the punch

Tax campaigners have stolen a march on the rest of the industry, publishing a
of conduct for governments and taxpayers.

The set of rules, which include demands for a general anti-avoidance
principle, transparent recording of ‘all taxable entities’ and obligations on
government to set out clearly the way it spends taxpayers’ money, has been
produced by the Tax Justice Network and the Association for Accountancy and
Business Affairs.

The rules are designed to kick off a debate about tax that is more than about
‘I will reply to your letter within three days or I will answer the phone within
six rings,’ co-author Richard Murphy said.

One requirement is that ‘tax planning seeks to comply with the spirit as well
as the letter of the law,’ while another urges government to provide better

Murphy said that goverments need to account better for how they spend money,
and that he personally understood how difficult it was to get a sense of how
money is spent: ‘How do I know what money is being used for? Where are accounts
in a form that you can easily understand?’

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