This is not accurate. KDE 4 on PCLinuxOS has a transparency patch to allow for taskbar transparency without resorting to using KDE 4 Desktop Effects. I am using the Glassified theme with full taskbar transparency as my video card doesn't do Desktop Effects. I also know of two other distros who default to Folder View so the users have similar settings to KDE 3.5.x.
Texstar, I have KDE4 compositing enabled and I have still not found any way to make the taskbar panel completely transparent. Even with the 'Plix' theme installed, the Systemtray portion of the taskbar panel remains annoyingly translucent, and not transparent.
I have been editing the 'Plix' theme files directly in Inkscape, desperately attempting to get rid of that translucent grey pall, but to no effect whatsoever - the grey remains, always. I have asked in another thread if there was something else that could be affecting the theming, but received no response regarding that point.
So: is there something else that over-rides the theme file settings, or isn't there?
The bottom line is that if editing the theme files directly doesn't change the background transparency level, then I think that the 'answer' to ff103's original question is "No.".