British business makes move towards greater tax transparency
Birmingham-based Unity Trust Bank, Midcounties Co-operative and The Phone Co-op have become the first businesses to be accredited by the new Fair Tax Mark, the world's first independent accreditation scheme to address the issue of responsible tax.
The Mark, which has been developed by a team of tax justice campaigners and tax experts, shows that a company is making a genuine effort to be open and transparent about its tax affairs and pays the right amount of corporation tax at the right time and in the right place.
The accreditation of the Fair Tax Mark pioneer companies comes at a time when recent polling from the Institute for Business Ethics has found that corporate tax avoidance is now the number one concern of the public when it comes to business conduct.
Margaret Hodge MP, and Chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee is a keen supporter of the initiative. "The reaction to the revelations about the tax practices of big names like Starbucks, Amazon and Google shows that this is an issue the public really cares about. Given the choice, many people would prefer to give their custom to a responsible business that does the right thing and pays its fair share of tax," she commented. "The Fair Tax Mark helps give them the power to make that choice, and seeing customers vote with their feet is perhaps the most effective deterrent there is to companies engaging in tax avoidance or other irresponsible practices."
Current estimates suggest that whilst the public sector budget is being slashed, corporate tax avoidance in the UK is currently running at £12bn every year, a sum which would fund the training of almost half a million midwives and pay the salaries of half a million teachers for a year.
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