2. 2 Literature Methodology Results Conclusions In summary 3. 3 Tax Practitioners and Ethics OECD Report Tax avoidance and unacceptable tax planning Growing concern regarding the ethical behaviour of tax practitioners Recognition of an ethical dimension to tax in literature and beyond 4. 4 5. 5 Cognitive moral development (CMD) Before reaching a decision about how to behave ethically in specific situations, ethical or moral reasoning takes place at a cognitive level The psychology of moral reasoning aims to understand thought processes about moral dilemmas, i.e., the state of mind of the decision maker and the processes individuals use in approaching dilemmas 6. 6 Kohlbergs 6 stage model of moral development (1973) Pre-conventional: focuses on the individual Conventional: focuses on the group and relationships Post-conventional: focuses on the inner self and personally held principles 7. 7 Moral reasoning assessment Rest and the Defining Issues Test (DIT) The P score 8. 8 Education and Moral Reasoning Prior research has shown that education enhances moral reasoning development (30- 50%) (Bebeau & Thoma, 2003) prods students to re-examine their thoughts about the moral basis of society and to value post-conventional reasoning more and more (Rest 1999) Moral reasoning can be enhanced through certain forms of instruction, labelled intervention studies (Rest, 1986) Many studies suggest a deficiency in the CMD of accounting students and accountants! Context important (Doyle et al., 2012) 9. 9 Research Objective To design an effective tax context-specific ethical intervention and to test its effectiveness in enhancing cognitive moral development using an instrument designed to capture moral reasoning in a tax domain as well as in the broad social domain typically examined 10. 10 Research Methods 1. Development of an educational intervention 2. Metrics for measuring effectiveness (pre and post intervention / DIT & TPDIT) 3. Students perceptions of salient issues 4. Focus group with students 11. Intervention On-Line 11 12. Findings On-line Discussion contributions Pre and post moral reasoning scores Focus Group findings 12 13. Discussions General Views Legal Rules Junior Status Pleasing client/boss Personal Gains Personal responsibility & Professionalism Culture Benefit from Tax Revenue 13 14. Moral Reasoning Scores 14 15. Moral Reasoning Scores 15 16. 16 Focus Group Benefits Content & logistics Suggestions DIT Scores 17. 17 Conclusions Place for ethics in business? Compliance with the law Career reasons to be ethical Low level moral reasoning Powerlessness in face of organisational hierarchy We need to do more as educators to arm students with tools they need Intervention effective per focus group findings Whole programme approach necessary Importance of context Improving the intervention 18. 18 Questions?