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A case study of the "Italian Tax Mores: Student: Uche Agumba
In this case the bank manager felt that filing taxes the Italian way was wrong, due the fact that it involved falsifying their earnings and the amount due on their corporate tax return, and because it also involved bribery to an Italian government official which basically is against moral and business ethics. With regard to his moral values, the manager filed a tax return based on the true earnings of his bank, as he would have done in the United States, and eventually sent the Italian government a check in the amount he had calculated. As would have been expected from the Italian tax officials, they simply rejected the payment because the bank manager’s action was not understood by the officials. They penalized the bank for interest on its deposits, as well as charging the bank three times the amount it owed to the authorities.
The dilemmas that faced this bank manager are obvious. Should he falsify their tax return, lie, and be party to bribery?, That obviously is unethical based on American corporate tax laws and the standard of business behavior expected from a financial institution. These are actions forbidden in United States although some corporations may risk performing this unlawful act. Does falsification of tax returns violate any moral ethics? The obvious answer is capital “YES” but on the other hand Values vary in different cultures, nations or societies, and what is acceptable practice in Rome may not be acceptable in America or even elsewhere in the world. In filing taxes the Italian way, the bank manager is merely conforming to the Italian way of doing business with no attachment to his personal values. The right ethical decision for the bank manager is to accept the culturally relative differences in values between USA and Italy. As the saying goes, when in Rome, one has to do as the Romans do, but at home, of course, one should conform to the...
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