TaxAdministrationTax practices: image unconscious

Tax practices: image unconscious

In this week’s issue of Accountancy Age we raise the prospect that the tax profession has lost its attraction for graduates because of its association, mostly unfairly, with dodgy tax practices

This is because, our feature explains,
graduates are concerned with ethics and social responsibility and are bringing
these attitudes to bear when deciding who to work for. It’s not the first time
this view has bubbled to the surface. Audit and assurance have often been faced
with questions of ethics when talking to graduate recruits.

One of the reasons the big firms have introduced service lines that advise on
the environment and corporate responsibility is that it sends a clear message
that the firms are thinking about the same things that graduates think about.
Apart from it being potentially lucrative, that kind of service line says ‘we
care’.

It’s difficult to see where tax advisers find a ‘feel good’ service line that
demonstrates their integrity. What do they reach for to make it clear that, not
only is the profession intellectually rewarding, but also does good in the
world?

It’s difficult to imagine given the bad press corporate tax affairs have
attracted in recent months. Tax is currently high on the agenda because of a
concern that some corporates don’t always pay their dues. But it’s worth
clinging on to the OECD conclusion: the profession enables taxpayers to comply
with tax law and pay the right tax.

The question is how to get that across. The Taxables, the typical tax family
invented by the CIoT, is one way, but the profession could do more by finding
ways of helping people who cannot afford advice. The public perception is that
the rich can afford people to help pay less than they should. The profession
should be working to undermine this or its reputation will always be open to
question.

To read our feature on this issue click
here

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