We've been accredited with the Fair Tax Mark again

by Leeds Building Society

Great news! We’ve kept the Fair Tax Mark for a second year

In 2018 we became the first national high street bank or building society to receive the Fair Tax Mark. We’re very proud to have done so once again for 2019.

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

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.
  • Saying no to abusive tax avoidance schemes.
  • Publishing full accounts and explaining our tax charges clearly.

Why is it important?

Tax funds the essential public services our members and colleagues use every day, like hospitals and schools. We’re a mutual society owned by our members – so we’ve always believed in paying tax responsibly. It means we’re supporting the services that help our members get on with their lives.

We asked our online member panel what they thought. A whopping 96% of them said payment of the fair amount of tax is integral to being a responsible business.

The Chief Executive at Fair Tax, Paul Monaghan, explains: “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. As a mutual, we were founded on the principle of people helping people, so paying our fair share of tax is nothing new for us. In 2018 we paid more than £23m in Corporation Tax. And if you take into account the bank levy and taxes paid through our responsibilities as an employer, we contributed almost £55m in taxes.

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?

Fair Tax is an external not-for-profit community benefit society. They reviewed our tax practices against strict criteria to award us the Fair Tax Mark.

This process happened in two stages. First of all, we were assessed and then given some recommendations to improve our responsible tax practice. For example, we were asked to publish our Tax Strategy on our website.

Then we were reassessed by Fair Tax after carrying out their recommendations. The criteria we had to meet 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 for a second time isn’t the end of our commitment to being a responsible business. We’re determined to do what’s right, so we’ll keep looking for more ways to improve.

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, and Investors in People accreditation.

We hope members will join us in celebrating our achievement of once again receiving the Fair Tax Mark.