Accountants are more ethical compared to lawyers or other tax agents with

Accountants are more ethical compared to lawyers or

This preview shows page 115 - 117 out of 544 pages.

Accountants are more ethical compared to lawyers or other tax agents with respect to tax compliance issues. In a similar vein, Doyle et al. (2009), in a study involving tax agents in the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland, suggest that ethical dilemmas exist in tax practice, and argue that acting ethically is not merely complying with the tax laws. The ethical values of Chartered Public Accountants (CPAs), including tax agents prior to self-regulation and post self-regulation by the accounting profession in the US, are examined by Waldron and Doty (2010). Five hundred CPAs from an American Institute of Certified Public Accountant (AICPA) listing were selected through a random sampling. The results demonstrate that the ethical values of CPAs are indifferent subsequent to the self-regulatory environment. However, the self-regulation results in an increase in the intention of CPAs to behave ethically. Notwithstanding the various specialty areas in accounting, a survey by Emerson et al. (2007) found that the moral or ethical reasoning of accountants is significantly indifferent to their job tasks, whether or not they are doing audits, tax or accounting jobs. Early evidence on the ethical reasoning of CPAs is demonstrated by Ponemon (1992) in understanding the influence of accounting firm socialization with the level of ethical reasoning. The author argues that higher level CPAs, those progressing from manager to partner, had a lower and more homogenous level of ethical reasoning. Despite the claim that accounting
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96 practitioners have low ethical reasoning, Wasieleski and Weber (2009) provide a contradictory result. In a study involving business practitioners from various job functions such as accounting, finance, information technology, supply chain, marketing and human resources, the findings suggest that business practitioners with an accounting background have high ethical reasoning and are placed second after the human resources practitioner. In Malaysia, Singh (2003) finds that the level of moral reasoning of the Malaysian tax agents are lower compared to that of US auditors. In this study, Singh (2003) examines the ethical decision making of tax agents by incorporating individual differences, cognitive process and contextual variables in explaining the ethical decision making of tax agents in public accounting firms. Having the appropriate dimensions in ethical judgment is important to ensure correct decisions are made. Frecknall-Hughes and Moizer (2005) discuss two contradicting ethical dimensions in ethical judgment. They argue that tax agents should apply the domain of consequentialism or deontology in making choices. Consequentialism emphasizes the final outcome without any concern on the method to obtain the outcomes (that is the end justified the means), provided that the good of the outcome could compensate for the bad of the means. Therefore, if tax agents favour the consequentialism domain then they have to consider the effects of the parties involved and the level of importance to each group based on the decision that they select. In contrast, the deontological approach to decision making suggests that
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