Nearly 80% of UK consumers would rather shop with a business that can prove it is paying its fair share of tax, according to research from the Fair Tax Mark.
The organisation, which carried out the research as part of a wider survey on attitudes towards tax, also found that nearly 80% of people would rather work for a business which can prove it is paying its fair share of tax.
Nearly 65% of respondents would trust a business with the Fair Tax Mark more than one without it, while 56% said they would switch businesses in favour of one with the Mark.
HMRC believes the UK’s estimated tax gap (the amount of tax collected versus what should be collected in theory) to be £36bn, of which £3.7bn is corporation tax. The Fair Tax Mark says tax campaigners and other experts believe the gap is closer to £119bn. The Mark was launched in response to criticism over the amount of UK corporation tax paid by some companies, and now offers an independent accreditation process that assesses companies’ corporation tax practices and reporting.
“Hard working people have born the brunt of austerity measures at the same time as some multi-million pound businesses have been avoiding paying their fair share of corporation tax,” said Emily Kenway, director of the Fair Tax Mark.
“There is a crisis in the NHS, local libraries are closing and the social care system is on the brink of collapse. Businesses failing to contribute to the public purse are depriving communities across the UK of vital public services.”
Meg Hillier MP, chair of the Public Accounts Committee, agrees. “Ensuring companies pay their fair share of corporation tax is vital for our economy,” she said. “It helps to fund public services and ensures a level playing field for businesses large and small.”
Alongside the report, the Fair Tax Mark has launched an interactive Fair Tax Map, enabling shoppers to find and support companies which are Fair Tax Mark accredited. So far 24 organisations have received the accreditation – included nine co-operatives. Co-operatives make up over half of the entries on the map.
“The Fair Tax Mark scheme is growing at pace as responsible businesses recognise that consumers are keen to support those organisations contributing their fair share of tax,” said Ms Kenway. “We’re very pleased to launch the Fair Tax Map, celebrating accredited businesses.”
The Co-operative Group is one of those accredited, and is “delighted” to be part of the Fair Tax Mark map
“This is a great initiative to help consumers decide where and with which businesses they can choose to shop,” said Lisa O’Hare, head of direct tax at the Group. “We know our customers want us to be fair and transparent when it comes to paying tax, and that’s why we are proud to display the Fair Tax Mark. It’s a sign of responsible business that benefits staff, customers and communities.”
“Paying a fair amount of corporation tax and reporting on it transparently should be standard business practice, but sadly it often isn’t,” added Joe Haydn, of Manchester’s Unicorn Grocery Workers Co-operative, which is also accredited. “We’re proud to be part of something that allows consumers in our city to easily find and support companies that pay what they should, not what they can get away with.”