Church Action for Tax Justice (CATJ) is calling on people of every faith to come together and call on responsible businesses to ‘say what they pay with pride’, on Sunday 7 July 2019, Tax Justice Sunday, as a counter movement to initiatives like ‘Tax Freedom Day’ promoted by the Adam Smith Institute.
The call comes as part of Fair Tax Week, and follows new polling conducted by ICM that has shown record levels of concern among the public about the use of tax avoidance practices by business in the UK.
Over three quarters of people would rather shop with (77%) or work for (78%) a business that can prove it is paying its fair share of tax – in both cases, up eight percent points on 2018. An increasing number also said that it was important to celebrate businesses who can demonstrate good tax conduct and shun the artificial use of tax havens and contrived tax avoidance practices, up six percent points on 2018, to 75%.
Nearly three quarters (74%) of the public thought that the UK should take a lead and force companies to show their income, profit and tax paid in each country in which they operate.
Paul Monaghan, Chief Executive of the Fair Tax Mark, said: “It is great to see the emergence of Church Action for Tax Justice and Tax Justice Sunday. They provide a much needed counter-balance to the far-right economic fundamentalists, such as the Institute for Economic Affairs, who have twisted religious texts to justify their support for tax dodging and a general beggar-thy-neighbour approach to public services and society in general.”
Reverend David Haslam, chair, Church Action for Tax Justice said: “Far too often tax is presented as a burden; but it shouldn’t be. Paying the right amount of tax is a way of showing love for our neighbour, and creating the type of just society that we find in the teachings of Jesus, the Prophets and Paul’s letters.
“Unfortunately we’re growing used to seeing headlines about the complex web of accounting tricks and loopholes big companies like Amazon and Facebook are using to minimise paying what they owe. In fact it is estimated that corporate tax revenue losses in the UK are in the region of £7bn per annum. Just think, in this time of austerity, what this missing money could pay for – from nurses and teachers’ salaries for climate emergency assistance to developing countries.
“This Tax Justice Sunday we’re calling on responsible businesses to say what they pay with pride; to pay their tax in the spirit of the law, to not use tax havens to avoid paying tax, to be transparent about who owns the company, and to report annually how much tax is paid in each country that a business operates in.”
The survey also found that record numbers of consumers also said they would switch the businesses that they use to one that has the Fair Tax Mark (up by eleven percent points to nearly two thirds of respondents, 62%).
Rt Revd Michael Doe, Assistant Bishop, Anglican Diocese of Southwark said: “This year’s Fair Tax Week, including Tax Justice Sunday, is an opportunity for churches to witness ‘in the public square’ for a tax system which provides the public services we need and reduces inequality, and which collects those taxes in a fair and transparent way. The Gospel demands nothing less.”
Church Action for Tax Justice and the Fair Tax Mark are calling on the public to ask the organisations they work for, shop with and buy services from to ‘Say what you pay with pride’ during Fair Tax Week, 6-14 July.