G20 public trust in tax

Around two-thirds of the world's population live in the G20 countries. They account for 85% of the Gross World Product and for 75% of the world trade. 

Recently, there has been a raised concern about transparency, complexity and inequality in tax systems among the citizens of the G20 countries. They have grown sceptical of politicians and the media, but say they trust experts and professional accountants.

Public trust in tax

People trust professionals, experts on tax, but are divided on the tax authorities and remain sceptical of politicians and media

Professional accountants play vital roles in supporting taxpayers and advising on tax policies. People's view on the contribution of professional accountants to tax systems remains positive. On the whole, people believe that their role fosters fairer, more effective and efficient systems.

  • Trust in professional accountants on tax has improved in several G20 countries, including China and Australia, but remains low in Germany.

Politicians are central to the tax debate and in government they are the key decision makers on tax policy. Despite a modest recovery in some countries in 2018, trust in politicians has remained at critically low levels throughout the G20 countries.

  • Trust in politicians on tax has improved in the United States, moving from 9th to 5th place across G20 countries but has deteriorated in both South Africa and Argentina.
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Concerns in the G20 countries

People are concerned about transparency, complexity, and inequality in tax systems

It can be difficult to understand the tax system. People want clarity on how their tax money is being spent and from whom their governments are collecting taxes. In some countries, corruption is also a big concern. 

High income earners and multinationals are generally considered better off in the tax system than average or low income earners.

Views on the international tax context

People understand that tax is an international issue and requires policy trade-offs

"I would happily pay more tax if it meant improvements in infrastructure and welfare. I think taxation is a backbone of any society."

Respondent in Australia

A majority of people in G20 countries see paying taxes as mainly a matter of laws and regulations than of morals and fairness. However, a strong majority of people support tax incentives.

Most people are supportive of cooperation on international tax policy to create a more coherent international tax system.

 

Lead author, Chas Roy-Chowdhury