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Accounting Standards: A Panacea?

Judith Freedman KPMG Professor of Taxation Law University of Oxford discusses whether linkage to international accounting standards will help to produce a European common tax base
Linking the tax base to accounting standards has an intuitive appeal. Taxpayers hope that this might reduce compliance costs and simplify the tax system. Revenue authorities and politicians think that alignment might cut tax avoidance since it brings the tax base closer to the 'true' profits relied upon by managers and shareholders for the purposes of making distributions and other decisions. At an international level globalisation of accounting standards may be thought to point the way to an even greater prize: if international accounting standards can be agreed perhaps this is the basis for harmonising the tax base?
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