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Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Government must endorse tax transparency scheme

If the government is truly committed to tackling tax evasion and avoidance it should endorse a new tax transparency scheme, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union says. They say "tax dodging has been forced onto the agenda of the G8 this week" as a result of continued pressure by the union, campaigners and charities. 

The government could commit to full transparency by endorsing the new fair tax mark, established by accountant and campaigner Richard Murphy with the support of the union. The scheme assesses large UK companies on how open they are about their profits and tax and whether they use tax havens. 

Firms are given a score and graded using a traffic light system.  So far 25 large companies have been assessed and reports published on the fair tax mark website reveal only three did not use tax havens. The union has long highlighted the "absurdity" of HMRC cutting thousands of jobs and closing offices when more than £120 billion is lost to our economy every year through avoided, evaded and uncollected tax.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "If the government is truly committed to ending the scandal of tax dodging, which deprives our economy of tens of billions of pounds every year, it must endorse the fair tax mark. 
If big businesses have nothing to hide then they have nothing to fear from this kind of scrutiny."

Richard Murphy, director of the Fair Tax Campaign that runs the scheme, said: "Transparency is at the core of the G8 agenda and that's what the fair tax mark is all about. 
It is time for the government to not just talk the talk, but walk the walk – and that means endorsing this scheme now."