The overwhelming majority of people in G-20 countries believe that cooperation between governments on tax policy is more important than competition to increase national tax revenue.
According to a survey by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, the preference for cooperation over competition is strongest in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy and Mexico. Overall, 73 percent favor cooperation to create a better international tax system.
“These results show the average citizen across G-20 countries is more concerned that their government cooperates with other countries for a more coherent international system than competing for national interests such as increasing tax revenue or attracting multinational business,” the survey report said.
The majority of citizens in G-20 countries have no problem with their governments offering reduced taxes to promote specific social and economic objectives. Three-quarters of respondents support the use of tax incentives for green energy projects or retirement planning, and 49 percent of people believe governments should offer tax incentives to attract investments by multinationals.
Overall, more than half of respondents agree that local companies and multinationals are paying sufficient tax. However, the results vary across the G-20 countries. In the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia, the majority of people disagree or strongly disagree with the statement that high income earners and multinational companies are paying “a reasonable amount of tax.”
In contrast, low- and average-income earners and local companies are viewed as paying a reasonable amount in these four countries. In Russia, most survey respondents believe that none of the four groups, whether individuals or companies, is paying sufficient taxes.
Nearly three-quarters of people consider paying taxes as mainly a matter of laws and regulations rather than morals or fairness. This contrasts with the media coverage of tax avoidance and political rhetoric which has largely focused on whether the amount of tax individuals and companies pay is fair.
But views are more varied when it comes to efforts by individuals and companies to arrange their affairs to minimize taxes. In Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, the U.S. and the U.K., people view tax minimization as something that is more appropriate for average- or low-income earners and local companies to do, but less so for high-income earners and multinational companies. Attitudes toward tax minimization by any taxpayer were generally negative in Italy and South Korea.
Overall, more people in G-20 countries appear to view tax minimization as appropriate for high-income earners, and local and multinational companies than average- or low-income earners.
The results also showed that 67 percent of people in G-20 countries distrust or highly distrust politicians when it comes to the tax system, 41 percent distrust the media and 38 percent do not trust business leaders.
The study surveyed 7,600 people across the G-20 countries, which account for approximately two-thirds of the world’s population, 85 percent of the world’s gross product and 75 percent of world trade.