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Taxing Times

The latest AQF debate focused on the complex area of corporate taxes and highlighted some of the associated challenges and opportunities.

You do not have to be a football fan to appreciate the wise words of Arsenal’s manager Arsène Wenger: “We have gone from a vertical society to a horizontal society where everybody has an opinion about every decision you make, everybody has an opinion on the internet straight away. The respect for people who make decisions is gone because every decision is questioned.”

This resonates for all of us personally and professionally; it certainly has implications for auditors, accountants, the wider business community and their many stakeholders. So it was a fitting point of departure for Alastair Campbell (journalist, broadcaster and former Number 10 spin doctor) when he gave the provocation at the latest Audit Quality Forum (AQF).

Does Business Pay Its Fair Share of Tax?

Incidents such as the recent leak of the Panama Papers have an impact; however, public perceptions are also shaped by wider developments in society. “Deference has gone and I think too many people don’t understand the importance of this,” said Campbell. Banks, big business, media, politicians and sports stars are among the many luminaries to fall in public esteem.

Campbell delivered an insightful and thought-provoking discourse around reasons for this sea change and its implications.

This is an extract from an article in the September 2016 edition of Audit & Beyond, the magazine of the Audit and Assurance Faculty.

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