This campaign has now ended. Find out how we are continuing the fight against tax avoidance through the Fair Tax Mark campaign.
Ethical Consumer is part of the Tax Dodging Bill campaign to help push whoever wins the next election into tackling tax avoidance.
We’re calling for a law that will:
- Make it harder for big companies to dodge UK taxes and ensure they’re not getting unfair tax breaks
- Ensure UK tax rules don’t encourage big companies to avoid tax in developing countries
- Make the UK tax regime more transparent and tougher on tax dodging
Why we have joined the campaign
We all pay our tax. But companies like Amazon, Google and Starbucks can get away without paying their fair share.
Every year the UK loses billions of pounds to corporate tax dodging, while developing countries lose an estimated $160 billion a year from corporate tax dodging.
And the incredible thing about this is that much of this is legal. Big corporations are taking advantage of an unfair system that allows them to dodge paying their fair share, benefiting themselves at the expense of the rest of society, including more responsible businesses.
Tax rules are currently rigged in favour of the biggest and most powerful companies, because those companies have been allowed too much access and influence.
At the same time around 13 million people, including 3.7 million children, live in poverty in the UK.
Globally, 1 billion children live in poverty and in poorer countries 57 million children are still out of primary school, while an estimated 1 billion of the world’s poor people still don’t receive the health services they need. While so many governments’ budgets are already stretched, cracking down on corporate tax dodging is crucial to ensure there is money available to right these wrongs.
The impact of tax avoidance
The fact that some of the world’s biggest corporations pay less than their fair share of tax isn’t just unfair.
It means that governments – here and in some of the world’s poorest countries – are losing out on taxes which could be used to fight poverty. Poorer countries are hit hardest because they rely on corporate tax revenues to fund poverty reduction even more than richer countries.
Tackling corporate tax dodging is also in the interest of responsible businesses. Public confidence in business is faltering and institutional investors are increasingly concerned by the effects of tax dodging scandals on corporate reputations.
A tiny but powerful minority benefit at the expense of everyone else when big companies don’t pay their fair share.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. On 7 May the UK has a General Election. In the coming months we have a real opportunity to influence the priorities of the future government for the next 5 years.
Politicians can change the UK’s tax rules to make sure that companies here pay their fair share of tax when they do business here. Not only that, the UK’s tax rules can also help ensure UK companies pay their fair share of tax wherever else they operate - which includes some of the world's poorest countries.
We need to change the UK’s rules to make all companies pay their fair share. We need to make sure there is enough money available to tackle poverty in the UK and in the world’s poorer countries.
We are calling on all political parties to pledge to introduce a Tax Dodging Bill in the first 100 days after the election, which would help tackle poverty in developing countries and to use the funds raised here to tackle poverty in our society.
We need a Tax Dodging Bill to tackle corporate tax dodging, and to make tax fair. The potential benefits are huge. We estimate that the Tax Dodging Bill could generate at least £3.6 billion more a year in tax to fight poverty in the UK, and billions more in developing countries. These reforms will also create a level playing field which is a benefit for responsible companies that do pay their fair share.
We’re calling for a law that will:
Make it harder for big companies to dodge UK taxes and make sure they’re not getting unfair tax breaks, by ensuring that foreign multinationals can’t use tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of tax on their business in the UK ;
Rigorously reviewing tax breaks for big companies and scrapping any which don’t bring true benefits to society;
Ensure UK tax rules don’t encourage big companies to avoid tax in developing countries:
Toughen up the UK’s anti-tax haven rules to deter tax -dodging at home and abroad and review other tax rules to make sure they don’t harm developing countries;
Make the UK tax regime more transparent and tougher on tax dodging, by:
Requiring big companies to publish their taxes, profits and other key data for each country where they do business.
Toughening the tax regime, and making tax avoidance schemes riskier and more costly.
We are also calling on parties to commit to using the funds raised in the UK to tackle poverty here.