Independent verification helps build trust in responsible tax claims

The Ipsos Global Trustworthiness Monitor reported in 2023 that less than a third of the global public trust business leaders to ‘tell the truth’ (30%) or ‘generally behave in an ethical way’ (29%) – albeit trust levels vary widely across the 21 countries surveyed.

Given this lack of trust, independent third-party verification is crucial for enhancing credibility of corporate claims about responsible tax conduct. In the same way as declarations on living wage payment, organic production and sustainable forestry are supported by independent accreditation.

“Rebuilding public trust in business will not be easy, but as a start, businesses need to significantly increase transparency around tax as a minimum – but not just the numbers, the principles and practices too. Being open and transparent is the bedrock of building trust. We have long sought to do this as a company with our Fair Tax Mark accreditation.”

Martin McEwen, Head of Tax, SSE

Trusted accreditations built on civil society foundations

Organisations rooted in civil society underpin the majority of the most trusted social and environmental accreditation schemes. With the involvement of the big accountancy firms (especially the ‘Big Four’) treated with scepticism – not least given their historic involvement in the enabling of tax avoidance.

Polling of the UK public found that whilst 73% agreed that: ‘it is important to celebrate businesses who can demonstrate good tax conduct and shun the artificial use of tax havens and contrived tax avoidance practices’; just 15% said that they trusted ‘company auditors’ to accurately confirm whether a ‘company was paying the right amount of tax’, compared with 35% for the Fair Tax Mark and 45% for the UK’s HMRC tax authority.

Add weight to your ESG credentials

The Fair Tax Mark is the global gold standard of responsible tax conduct. It satisfies the key reporting recommendations of GRI 207, the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct, but carries with it the additional weight of independent third party verification undertaken by a trusted social enterprise.

Businesses such as Brett Nicholls, Clean for Good, Coventry Building Society, Lendology, Make, Revolver, Timetastic, Wolf & Player and Yoti view Fair Tax Mark accreditation as a valuable augmentation of their B Corp certification, given the latter does not systematically consider and rate tax conduct.

Find out how your business can become Fair Tax Mark accredited and join the movement.

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