Tax and ethics – starting at the beginning

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As far as I know Plato was the first person to write about tax and ethics. In the Republic (published 4th century BC) he said:

(I)n their dealings with the State: when there is an income-tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same amount of income; and when there is anything to be received the one gains nothing and the other much.

Note though, the differential is honesty – and this is an issue of choice, which neceesarily means that the issue is ethical.

It was ever so, and is so now. So let’s face the issue, with honesty – which means we embrace the reality of it and consider how accountants, taxpayers and government need to behave in the face of the ethical dilemmas taxation creates. It certainly does not mean we ignore them – but because that would be unethical.