Tax Transparency: The Trusted Tax Adviser Charter

We believe that standardisation is the key to building trust, and that an objectively verifiable set of standards could restore trust in our profession. This discussion document sets out our current thinking and the rationale behind our belief that a Trusted Tax Adviser Charter could bring about positive changes advantageous to the profession, our clients, government, and society.

The Tax Transparency debate looks certain to remain headline news and generate further publicity for businesses and the tax profession. The debate has an impact on all taxpayers, not just the higher profile companies that have attracted significant media attention. As a consequence, tax transparency has the potential to fundamentally alter the relationship between taxpayers, tax authorities and the public, and as a result, the service that clients require from professional advisers.

To assist clients in managing their tax risks, advisers themselves need to be transparent, trusted and not just qualified to advise on these matters. It is no longer simply a question of legally paying the smallest amount of tax. However we do not believe that tax transparency means paying more tax or the imposition of additional reporting requirements.

Society is interested in the ethics of taxation. Despite taxpayer confidentiality, the public want affirmation that everyone else has contributed their fair share. But what is ethical taxation? What is fair? Solving this tax transparency conundrum is important. The concept of fairness in tax is currently defined by a dichotomy of third parties with conflicting and changing view points. Who is qualified to decide what is fair?

Read our discussion paper, and please share your feedback and thoughts on our blog Let's Talk Tax.