Now you can shop fair tax
The Fair Tax Mark tells us about a new initiative that helps consumers shop with those companies paying a fair rate of tax
Most people care about tax. That’s what the polling tells us: for three years running, the Institute for Business Ethics has found that tax is consumers’ top issue of concern when it comes to corporate behaviour.
We care about tax because it funds our vital services like the NHS, free schooling, and transport infrastructure. It’s also crucial for levelling the economic playing field, ensuring smaller businesses can compete more fairly with larger ones.
But it’s not news that some companies think they don’t have to pay up, with scandals breaking every few months.
Estimates vary of how much corporation tax is missing from public coffers but it is at least £3.7 billion a year according to HMRC. Put into real terms, that’s 171,000 nurses’ starter salaries a year, 712,000 secondary school places, or 9,250,000 days for a patient in hospital.
So tax matters, but it can feel like an unwieldy topic to tackle. Tax justice campaigners are doing great work lobbying governments and shutting down loopholes but how do we, as consumers, tackle businesses on the ground?
As a reader of Ethical Consumer, you may already be boycotting certain companies due to their dodgy tax dealings but boycotts are only half the story. To whom you give your business is as important as from where you take it away.
By proactively choosing to support companies doing the right thing, you can make a difference. And you won’t be doing it alone: 77% of UK adults agree that they’d rather shop for a business which proves it’s paying its fair share.
Until now, it’s been tricky to know which companies are doing so, and that’s where the Fair Tax Mark – and our brand new Fair Tax Map – comes in. The Fair Tax Map is a new interactive tool which shows all the Fair Tax Mark-certified companies across the UK.
All of these businesses have passed the rigorous Fair Tax Assessment, demonstrating that they’re paying their fair share and are reporting on it with the utmost transparency. They are applying the gold standard of tax responsibility, from creating policies stating that they will not abuse tax havens to publishing financial information for every country in which they operate.
With certified companies ranging from giants like Lush Cosmetics and Go-Ahead Group to independents like Mancunian grocers Unicorn, there are companies of all sizes represented.
Together, they make up around 1,500 locations and counting. By searching the map, you’ll see that there are fair tax options for just about everything you could need, including supermarkets, banking, phone and broadband provision, coffee, travel services and pharmacies.
These businesses have gone above and beyond the law to show that they are committed to a fair tax future. They are proud to display the Fair Tax Mark just like they are proud to pay their fair share as good corporate citizens.
By supporting them, we’re not only celebrating their leadership, we’re also encouraging others to join them. The more we show that consumers prefer companies who do the right thing, the more we’ll see other companies waking up and following their lead.
So, if you want to help us build a fair tax future, go to our website and see who’s accredited near you. Support them, celebrate them, and of course, if you run or work for a business yourself, join them!
Written by Emily Kenway
Ethical Consumer helped set up the Fair Tax Mark. Read more about our work on Tax Justice in our campaigns section.