Celebrating Fair Tax Week 2019
Back in 2018 we became the first national high street bank or building society to get the Fair Tax Mark accreditation. And we've just been reaccredited this year!
You can read lots more about what this means, and what we had to do to get this on our Knowledge Base.
In a nutshell, the Fair Tax Mark means we’re committed to absolute transparency when it comes to our tax affairs. We seek to pay the right amount of tax at the right time, and we publish our full accounts, explaining our tax charges clearly.
Celebrating Fair Tax Week
This month we’ve joined other like-minded organisations in celebrating Fair Tax Week (6-14 July, incorporating Tax Justice Sunday, 7 July) – because we’re proud to say what we pay.
There’s been lots going on to acknowledge the importance of Fair Tax Week. In fact, we were really excited to see our Corporate Responsibility Manager Luke Wellock representing the Society at a couple of big events:
- The Fair Tax Conference – where Luke explained why we became a Fair Tax Mark business and discussed how our members feel about paying tax fairly.
- Parliamentary Reception - along with our Deputy Finance Director, Luke also attended a Fair Tax Parliamentary reception in association with the All-party Parliamentary Group on Responsible Tax and Tax Justice UK. This brought together key voices from business, politics and campaigning to look at how UK policy can encourage positive tax behaviour.
We also spoke to Paul Monaghan, Chief Executive at Fair Tax, to find out more about Fair Tax Week and the conversations he was hoping to start as a result of it:
- Could you tell us a bit more about what Fair Tax Week is and why it’s important?
“Fair Tax Week is a UK-wide celebration of the companies and organisations that are proud to pay their fair share of corporation tax, and an exploration of the positive contribution this makes to society.
“We know that every year around £7bn of tax revenue is lost in the UK when companies engage in tax avoidance loopholes; undertaking profit shifting and using tax havens. Not only do our vital public services like the NHS, schools and policing, miss out on much needed funding, but poor tax conduct creates an uneven playing field for business, and contributes towards growing inequality.
“Fair Tax Week is an opportunity for everyone who believes in tax justice to come together and champion those who are showing leadership on the issue, as well as calling for change across Government and the wider business community.”
- What does Fair Tax hope to see as a result of the week?
“Fair Tax Week is our opportunity to champion the organisations that say what they pay with pride.
“We want more businesses to know that paying the correct amount of tax is not only the right thing to do, but it's also good for business. We want more consumers to know that the Fair Tax Mark is a sign that an organisation has reached an exemplar standard around tax transparency and practice, and for more businesses to join the growing Fair Tax Mark movement.”
- If any of our bank/building society peers have their interest peaked during the week – what advice would you give to them on starting their Fair Tax Mark journey?
“Give us a call - we're a friendly bunch! There's FAQs and guidance documents on the section for businesses on our website, and we're always happy to have a confidential chat with anyone who wants to find out more or begin the process towards certification.
“The Fair Tax Mark works with independent, technical experts who are used to supporting a whole range of organisations to work through the Fair Tax Mark criteria, from start-up's and SME's to multi-nationals and FTSE-listed corporations.”
Doing what matters to you
We know how important being a responsible and transparent business is to our members. And that feeling certainly came through loud and clear in some recent research* we carried out.
It turns out a whopping 90% of those questioned would rather put their money with a bank or building society who pays its fair share of tax. Not only that, but:
- Half of the respondents said they actually consider the tax ethics of a bank or building society when choosing where to put your money
- 96% felt that paying taxes fairly is integral to being a responsible business
- 80% would think about switching an account if you found out your provider wasn’t paying their fair share of tax
We were so pleased to see these results because it means we’re focusing on the things which matter to you.
In fact, we asked Paul exactly what kind of reassurances our Fair Tax Mark gives members. He suggests:
”Members can be assured that Leeds Building Society operates using the highest standards around tax transparency, contributing their fair share of taxes at the right time, and in the right place.
“Many of your members have shown that this is an issue close to their hearts, so I'd encourage them to check out the other Fair Tax Mark accredited businesses, because they might change their shopping habits and lend their support to these organisations too.”
So we certainly aren’t the only ones to commit to transparent tax practices – but we’re so proud to be in that group of businesses who are proudly saying this is important to them. And the Fair Tax Mark is proof of that to our members.
*A survey was undertaken in June 2019. Data was collected from 441 of members by Leeds Building Society.