Fair Tax can help small and medium businesses stand out

By October 19, 2016News

Fair Tax Mark businesses range across the size spectrum, from FTSE 100 listed energy company SSE to Crunchers South London, a small accountancy practice, and everything in between. They’re all united by a wish to level the corporate playing field and ensure the public purse gets the vital funds it needs.

 

We want big business to play fair, but we also love celebrating small and medium companies – and tax is one area where they can really stand out. Most aggressive tax avoidance is done by big companies. Smaller ones simply don’t  manipulate the system like that.

 

Combine this with the fact that consumers, councils and others really care about fair tax, and you have a win-win situation for small businesses.

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Help your business stand out and support the fair tax business movement

Proving you’re doing the right thing on tax by gaining the Mark isn’t just a ‘nice’ thing to do – it also makes great business sense:

  • Consumers care about fair tax: the Institute for Business Ethics has found tax to be the top consumer concern around company behaviour for 3 years’ running
  • Our businesses which sell products or services to other companies report that having the Mark helps them get the edge in bids
  • Increasing numbers of councils are putting fair tax requirements in their procurement practices

All of this means a small or medium business which can prove it’s paying its fair share and doing so transparently is going to reap rewards, both ethically and financially.

So how does a small or medium business get the Mark?

The first step is to check you’re eligible. We currently only accredit UK registered companies which pay corporation tax – this means we cannot accredit you if you are a sole trader.

Then you can get in touch with us, and we’ll begin the simple two stage process, which you can learn about here.

Will there be anything new we need to do to meet the Fair Tax Criteria?

 It depends. For some small businesses which are filing ‘Small Business Exemption Accounts’ or ‘Abbreviated Accounts’, you’ll need to start making your full accounts publicly available. That’s because transparency is absolutely key to a fairer tax system. When companies hide their books, it enables them to hide money too. We use your full accounts for the assessment and having them publicly available – whether on Companies House or on your website – is essential.

There might be a few other bits and bobs we need you to do, like pop a ‘fair tax policy’ up on your website or make sure your trading address is really clear. If there are, we’ll support you fully to do these, including providing you with templates and speaking with your accountant if you like.

The Fair Tax Mark will treat all information received, as well as the details of the assessment (including the overall score) as confidential.

Is there a fee?

Yes there is. We’re not-for-profit with staff and we need to raise money to keep the fair tax business movement growing. We do this by charging for our assessments and accreditations.

For the biggest businesses, this fee goes up to £12,000, but for small businesses with a turnover of less than £250,000, it’s £250. That covers us assessing your accounts, supporting you with any changes and awarding you the Mark under our trademark licence. And we’ll promote your business throughout the year on social media, at events, to our supporters and to the media when we can.

How long will it take?

We can turn around an assessment as quickly as a fortnight and will work to any timelines you suggest, though sometimes we can get pretty busy so it may be a little longer. The rest of the process depends on how fast you can get us your accounts and make any changes needed. We endeavour to keep these as simple and as quick to achieve as possible.

What if my business pays little or no tax?

There are many legitimate reasons why a business may pay no tax in one or more years.  This could be due to using a particular relief, paying into a pension fund or making a loss. The Fair Tax Mark takes this into account and won’t penalise the business if it works to explain fully and clearly why it is paying less tax than expected. We are about ensuring businesses are paying the right amount of tax and doing so transparently.

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How will you support me once I have the Fair Tax Mark?

Take a look at our Accreditation Guide which is for companies once they’ve achieved the Mark – it should give you some ideas of how the Mark can help to promote you. We will also promote you throughout the year, helping to prove that fair tax means better business.

Get in touch! Click here to fill out our Business Enquiry Form.