New Ethical Standards for Accountants and Tax Professionals

The International Ethical Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) has released an updated version of its ethics recommendations, incorporating for the first time guidance urging accountants and other tax professionals to consider the public interest when engaging in tax planning for clients.

These new ethical standards come in response to numerous public scandals associated with tax evasion schemes perceived as “aggressive” and harmful to public interests, as stated in IESBA materials.

The standards establish a clear framework of expected behavior and ethical provisions for use by all professional accountants and auditors. Additionally, the standards aim to restore public trust in the tax planning industry, which has been tarnished by the role played by consultants in light of recent revelations such as the Paradise Papers and Pandora Papers.

The guiding principles are designed to encourage tax professionals to go beyond the letter of the law, using an “principles-based framework and global ethical guidelines” set by IESBA.

IESBA recommendations are utilized in over 130 jurisdictions and have been adopted by more than 30 major audit firm networks.

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