The U.S. tax system is viewed as less fair and simple by tax professionals than the tax system in Hong Kong, Singapore and Canada, according to a new survey.

An international online survey of its members by the London-based Association of Chartered Certified Accountants found that only Australia and the United Kingdom ranked lower than the U.S. in perceptions of tax fairness and simplicity.

Hong Kong ranked highest on both counts, while Australia ranked lowest in terms of simplicity, while the U.K. ranked lowest in terms of fairness. The U.S. was in fourth place among the six tax systems in terms of fairness and simplicity.

"The IRS has an image problem with the man on the street," said ACCA head of taxation Chas Roy-Choudhury. He believes that low opinions about a country's tax system have a negative effect on compliance.

"ACCA's research has found tax evasion can often be linked to a nation's tax system having too many laws and regulations," he said. "Making the U.S.'s tax system simpler could lead to a reduction of tax avoidance and tax evasion."

The research reveals overwhelming support from all the countries' respondents to cut back on the volume of laws, directives and regulations to make tax systems less complex. U.S. tax professionals are clearly disappointed about how the Internal Revenue Service communicates its regulations and rules with U.S. citizens. Respondents from Hong Kong and Singapore were most positive about their tax authorities and how they communicate, while the U.S. and the U.K. languished at the bottom.


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