New sources of funding for Tax Research UK

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I have for the past five years been funded in three fundamental ways.

The first has been by a core grant from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.

The second has been by occasional grants from bodies such as the Joffe Charitable Trust and International Centre for Tax and Development.

The third has been by working for those of wanting to buy research services, such as the TUC, PCS, Unite, groupings in the EU Parliament and others.

A year ago the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust told me that they could not continue to fund any project after five years, believing that they would by then have given sufficient support and would seek to diversify their funding. I have been incredibly grateful to them for their support over that period and fully understand their reasoning. That did, however, leave a potentially very large gap in my income to fill.

I am, however, pleased to say that I have secured new core funding of £40,000 a year from the Friends Provident Foundation. This is likely to be for two years.

I have also been offered a grant of £25,000 a year from a private trust that has asked that I do not publicise their name because of the number of requests for funding that otherwise follow and the burden that this imposes. In the circumstances that have been explained to me I have accepted this constraint. This may be for up to three years.

In both cases the grants are for broadly similar research programmes. So, the Friends Provident Foundation grant is intended to, for example:

…address the continuing lack of tax justice in the UK and other societies. This is an issue because:

  • The tax burden is being shifted from capital onto income;
  • A lack of tax transparency is fuelling mistrust in business that is unhealthy to long term economic well-being in a mixed economy;
  • Tax avoidance and tax evasion by some businesses is distorting competition in their favour and undermining the creation of long term, honest and sustainable companies in the UK;
  • Failure to collect tax owing is contributing to the austerity agenda that is creating cuts in services that are harming the wellbeing of many in the UK;
  • The tax system is not being used to encourage a sustainable future;
  • Political discourse is being undermined by the simplistic presentation of tax issues that undermines true debate and so alienates people from the democratic process.

And it is intended that work should focus on the following to achieve this goal:

  • New research to monitor the impact and effectiveness of country-by-country reporting to support the demand for country-by-country reporting data to be published on public record;
  • A series on new tax reporting standards for multinational corporations to be launched to build on the success of country-by-country reporting;
  • The book ‘ The Joy of Tax’ should be published
  • Work on model or ideal tax systems should be launched with an NGO / NGO partners;
  • Promoting the idea that Green (or Infrastructure) Quantitative Easing can be used as an alternative to PFI and tax funding for investment in public infrastructure;
  • Work on tax gaps, with a focus on tax evasion

The second source of funding is for broadly similarly specified work but with a stronger focus on green issues and sustainability.

Both make provision for me to engage assistance to undertake the work. Both organisations have agreed that an appropriate income benchmark for my work is that of a UK university professor.

I now suspect that as result of these two grants and another very part time appointment that I am currently applying for that these sources of funding will become my main sources of income in Tax Research LLP over the next couple of years.

I am grateful to the trustees of both organisations for the confidence they have shown in the work that I do.