As economic uncertainty persists and governments struggle to fund public services with dwindling tax revenues, tax policy has risen to the top of government and business agendas, and into the public's consciousness. The debate increasingly centers on the issue of tax avoidance and tax morality – whether business is using tax planning to avoid paying its fair share of taxes.
This is a complex and often polarizing issue, and one where KPMG has taken a lead. One important aspect of KPMG's contribution to this dialogue is the Tax transparency and tax morality paper, published in June 2013.
Our Global Tax Code of Conduct
We also lead by example. Earlier this year we published a Global Tax Code of Conduct setting out the standards of ethical conduct that all KPMG tax professionals must meet. The Code articulates our enduring commitment to act lawfully and with integrity and to expect the same from our people, member firm clients, tax authorities and other parties with whom we interact.
Part of the current debate over tax stems from the reality that most tax systems were set up a quarter century or more ago. In today's global economy, global supply chains, distribution and marketing networks have added complications that legacy tax policies were not built to address. And countries often use their international tax systems to compete for inward investment.
My message to KPMG's tax clients is that calls for greater tax transparency will no doubt continue, and that business has to be able to explain the story behind their tax numbers. Simply complying with the law in various jurisdictions, without due regard to potential reputational risks, is no longer enough. Above all business, and we as tax advisers, have a responsibility to play a constructive part in the debate about future tax policy.
Meeting the globalization challenge
As globalization continues to breed new challenges for clients and tax policymakers alike, we continue to globalize the culture of the tax practice. We have worked to strengthen connections across member firms through strategies to grow networks, pool knowledge and collaborate on solutions to help clients thrive on the global plain.
Our Global Tax Trek program is a hallmark of our approach. Through short-term international exchanges, young KPMG tax professionals gain new contacts, absorb fresh ideas and expand their perspectives. I am proud to announce that the number of Tax Trekkers taking part in the program has just topped 1,000.
Our global, collaborative approach enables us to speak with experience and authority on the world's most pressing tax issues. In the current debate, the advice I offer to policy makers aims to steer them towards fair, practical solutions that promote prosperity for businesses and all the economies in which they operate.