Advisors support calls for a fair and transparent tax system for all

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Councilors backed a motion calling on businesses and organizations to pay their fair share of taxes and be transparent about the issue.

The motion, introduced by Cllr Martin Pearce, notes public concerns about corporate tax avoidance issues and not paying the right amount of tax in the right place at the right time.

It highlights the Fair Tax Mark, which provides a way for businesses to demonstrate good tax conduct.

The motion, which was overwhelmingly supported by the membership, states that the entire Council believes:

  • Paying taxes is often presented as a burden, but it shouldn’t be
  • Taxation allows us to provide services ranging from education, health and social care to flood defense, roads, police and defense. It also helps to counter financial inequalities and rebalance distorted economies
  • As beneficiaries of significant public funding, local authorities should take the initiative in promoting exemplary tax conduct; whether by ensuring that entrepreneurs pay their fair share of tax, or by refusing to accept overseas tax evasion when purchasing land and property
  • Where large shareholdings are held in private companies, influence should be exercised to ensure that these companies are examples of tax transparency and that tax evasion is avoided
  • Further action is needed, however, current law severely restricts the ability of councils to either penalize tax misconduct, or reward good tax behavior, when purchasing goods or services.
  • Cities, counties and towns across the UK can and should champion responsible tax conduct – do what they can within existing frameworks and commit to doing more if the opportunity arises, as active supporters of the international tax justice.

The motion states that the full Council decides to:

  • Approve tips for fair tax reporting
  • Lead by example and demonstrate good practices in tax conduct, in all of our activities
  • Ensure entrepreneurs implement IR35 in a robust manner and pay a fair share of employment taxes
  • Do not use offshore vehicles for the purchase of land and property, especially where this results in reduced stamp duty payments
  • Perform due diligence to ensure that nonprofit structures are not inappropriately used as an artificial device to reduce payment of taxes and trade rates
  • Require clarification of the ultimate beneficial ownership of suppliers and their consolidated income position
  • Promote Fair Tax Mark certification for any business in which we have a significant stake and where corporate tax is due
  • Support Fair Tax Week events in the region and celebrate the tax contribution of responsible businesses who say what they pay with pride
  • The support calls for urgent reform of EU and UK law to enable local authorities to better sanction bad tax behavior and reward good tax behavior through their procurement policies

Speaking in favor of the motion, Cllr Pearce said: “As a Council, it is our responsibility to set standards. As one of the main anchor institutions in this city, this is a great opportunity to tell others that this is where we are leading, now is the time for you to follow.

“There is so much support for this not only locally but internationally. Fair taxation is something that is popular with everyone. We all know it’s the right thing to do.


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