We've been Fair Tax Mark accredited

by Leeds Building Society

Great news! We’ve been Fair Tax Mark accredited

We’re really proud to be the first national high-street bank or building society to receive the Fair Tax Mark accreditation.

It’s especially important to us that our members trust us to do the right thing. And we think this accreditation means exactly that.

We’re also in good company with businesses like Lush, Timpson and the Co-op Group, who have all received the mark and committed to ethical and trustworthy tax practice.

What does the Fair Tax Mark actually mean?

Having the Fair Tax Mark means we take transparency around our tax affairs very seriously. As part of this we’ve committed to:

  • Paying the right amount of tax, at the right time and in the right place – we don’t maintain connections to any tax havens other than for genuine trading reasons.
  • Being transparent about our tax affairs, we publish full accounts and explain our tax charges clearly.
  • Responsible and ethical tax practice – we believe this is vitally important for businesses to support the communities they serve.

Why is it important?

As we all know, tax funds the essential public services our members and colleagues use every day – like health and education. So as a mutual society owned by our members, it’s always been our ethos to pay tax responsibly to support the services which help our members get on with their lives.

In a survey from the Institute of Business Ethics, the public voted tax avoidance as the number one business ethics issue over the past five years.

The Chief Executive at Fair Tax Paul Monaghan sheds more light on the issue;“It is estimated that €600bn of corporate profits are shifted annually to tax havens, with corporate tax revenue losses globally of €200bn per year - which equates to approximately £7bn of missing revenues in the UK.”

Doing the right thing

Like Paul, the people at Fair Tax and the general public, we don’t believe it’s right to cut corners at the expense of the communities we serve.

In fact, we’ve always believed in doing the right thing even when nobody’s looking. We’ve paid an average £22 million per year in Corporation Tax over the past four years, so paying our fair share of tax is nothing out of the ordinary for us.

The Fair Tax Mark formalises our commitment to paying our way. And we hope banks and building societies will follow our lead in paying and reporting tax responsibly.

How did we get this accreditation?

To get the Fair Tax Mark our tax practices were assessed and reviewed against strict criteria by Fair Tax, an external not-for-profit community benefit society.

The process for achieving the Fair Tax Mark happened in two stages. We were initially assessed and then provided with recommendations to improve our responsible tax practice. For example, we were asked to publish our Tax Strategy on our website.

We were then reassessed by Fair Tax after carrying out their recommendations, to see whether we met the criteria to get the Fair Tax Mark. The criteria we had to reach were designed by a group of experts at Fair Tax who are really passionate about businesses doing the right thing.

What’s next?

Getting the Fair Tax Mark isn’t the end of our commitment to responsible tax practice. We’re dedicated to constantly delivering the best, so we’ll keep looking for more ways to improve our approach. 

Achieving the Fair Tax Mark is part of a much bigger commitment we’ve made to being a responsible business

We’ve set ourselves a number of ambitious targets to reach by the end of 2020 including:

  • Helping 30,000 first time buyers into a home of their own
  • Donating over £1.2 million to charities and good causes
  • Investing over 8,000 colleague volunteering hours into our communities

We’re also incredibly proud to have already achieved the Carbon Trust Standard for Carbon, Leaders in Diversity status, as well as Investors in People.

We hope members will join us in celebrating our achievement as the first national high street bank or building society to receive the Fair Tax Mark.

As you’ll see in our soon to be released 2018 annual reports and accounts, this prestigious recognition is just one of the ways we’ve been practicing responsible business performance.