UK’s first Fair Tax Conference on Friday
Guest Blog: Paul Monaghan on why you should join us at this event
‘Tax’ is the corporate responsibility issue of our day. For the last two years, corporate tax avoidance has been the number one concern of the UK public when it comes to business conduct. How a business responds to this issue now defines how it is viewed by a significant proportion of the public. In terms of reputation: it overrides the use of Fairtrade coffee beans by high-street retailers; it abrogates the use of renewable energy by tech giants.
Tax avoidance was even a major break-through issue of the UK's General Election of 2015. Politicians the world over are now (at last) initiating the beginnings of a crackdown, with the early part of 2015 ushering in a plethora of fresh activity. The UK Government is promising through to new penalties for those who advise on tax evasion. In the United States, President Obama wants to introduce a one-off transition tax on the $2 trillion of US profits stashed overseas. Following last year’s LuxLeaks scandal, the EU will look to force its 28 Member States to share details of any sugar-coated tax deals agreed with business.
Early 2015 also marked the first birthday of the Fair Tax Mark, a project launched by Ethical Consumer and Tax Research UK. The project is world’s first independent accreditation scheme for businesses who want to demonstrate that they are open and transparent about their tax affairs and pay the right amount of corporation tax at the right time and in the right place.
The Mark is now carried by businesses of all shapes and sizes. We have social enterprises (such as the Midcounties Co-operative, Unity Trust Bank, the Phone Coop and the East of England Co-op); FTSE-listed giants (SSE plc, Go Ahead Group and AIM-listed Staffline Group); and private entities (including international retailer in Lush and internet company Bytemark).
We are even seeing the emergence of Fair Tax Mark’s abroad. At the end of 2014, the major parliamentary parties in Denmark called for the establishment of a Mark in their country.
The time has come for responsible tax payers to differentiate themselves from the avoiders and evaders, and lead the next big development in corporate responsibility.
The Fair Tax Mark conference
To hasten things along, a Fair Tax Conference has been convened in London on June 12th. It will feature presentations from:
- Fair Tax Mark corporate pioneers (SSE plc, Midcounties Co-operative and Bytemark),
- tax justice campaigners (Action Aid, Christian Aid, Oxfam, TJN),
- the accounting profession (KPMG),
- journalism (the Guardian and Ethical Consumer),
- trades unions (PCS),
- ethical investment (Kepler Cheureux),
- market research (YouGov) and
- politics (Margaret Hodge MP).
It will explore how a business can demonstrate that it pays the right amount of tax in the right place at the right time. It will also ask what the UK's new Government means for the issue, and what sort of legislative framework is needed to ensure that aggressive tax avoidance is minimised.
This Conference will be the first time progressive businesses, politicians, accountants and NGOs have explored these issues in such depth together – please join us.
Tickets are just £25 (including lunch) and available via the Fair Tax Mark site.
Paul Monaghan, a Founding Director at the Fair Tax Mark