The Fair Tax Mark: achieving real change

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The Fair Tax Mark (of which I was until last year a director, and which I still advise) has announced this morning that:

Capita has today secured Fair Tax Mark certification and joins the growing movement of responsible businesses who are proud to say what they pay with pride.

Capita is not a popular company with all on the left. But as the Fair Tax Mark notes:

The Fair Tax Mark is an independent certification scheme, which recognises organisations that demonstrate they are paying the right amount of corporation tax in the right place, at the right time. In total, more than 50 businesses have now been certified. These include national brands such as Timpson, Lush, and Richer Sounds, FTSE listed companies including SSE and Marshalls Plc., as well as co-operatives, family businesses and social enterprises.

More important is this:

As part of the accreditation process, Capita has chosen to publish their first Responsible Taxation report, which sets out plainly what tax they pay and why, both in the UK and abroad. This also describes how Capita is seeking to remove complexity from its corporate structure, including details around closures of subsidiaries in the UK, Jersey, Luxembourg and the UAE. A commitment has also been made to publish additional country-by-country reporting during 2020, after publication of the Annual Reports and Accounts.

This is key. The Fair Tax Mark is not a self-certification mark. Nor is it easy to secure: it demands changes in performance and disclosure from almost all companies that have got it. As is noted, Capita is making big changes that are likely to improve its tax transparency and tax compliance.

The Fair Tax Mark is about achieving change on the ground. I think it can survive criticism from purists as a result because this is how real change happens and I am happy to be associated with that.