Marshalls achieves fair tax mark for the third year running


For the third consecutive year, Marshalls has been rewarded for its transparency in business by receiving the Fair Tax Mark – this third-party accreditation is awarded to companies that display a fair, open and honest approach to paying corporation tax

More than that, it’s a promise that a company can be trusted to look after its customers’ best interests – as well as those of society as a whole. Studies have found that 64% of people place greater trust in a business that has been awarded the Fair Tax Mark than one that hasn’t. [1]

Why is this important?

Issues around tax avoidance affect us all – from pushing up the price of a loaf of bread to denting the level of investment in our infrastructure on a regional or even national level.

It’s estimated that around £12 billion is lost to the public purse each year via corporate tax avoidance. That’s more than the entire Home Office budget and half of the UK’s housing and environment budget.

The Fair Tax Mark is a way to reward companies that are doing their bit to redress the balance. With one in four consumers wanting to boycott tax dodgers, campaigners believed it was time to show which businesses could be trusted in order to help consumers spend their money where it counts.

“We’re thrilled that Marshalls has achieved the Fair Tax Mark once again,” said Emily Kenway, the organisation’s Director. “They are showing impressive leadership on transparent reporting of corporation tax and act as an example for other businesses. With procurement managers increasingly examining the tax ethics of companies during bidding processes, we expect Marshalls’ commitment to bring business benefits alongside simply being the right thing to do.”

Companies applying for the Fair Tax Mark undergo a rigorous assessment of their tax practices, receiving extensive feedback and step-by-step guides to achieving the levels of tax responsibility required of the Mark.

In 2016, Marshalls paid more than £93m in taxes including employee contributions, corporation tax and VAT. We also publish five-year records of our accounts and review our tax policy annually.

As the list of Fair Tax companies grows, and the cause gathers momentum, the campaign is now turning its attention to the public sector. The objective is to ensure that local authorities in particular are supporting the drive toward a climate in which firms pay their way.

Purchasing power

Local councils spend some £45bn [2] a year on supply and procurement from third parties in order to deliver what their communities need. As authorities face an ongoing squeeze on their budgets, it’s vital that they deliver a high standard of service for the money they spend.

A campaign late last year has now sparked a significant rethink among councils in terms of their procurement strategies. The Fair Tax Mark team asked authorities across the country to ‘use their purchasing power to tackle corporate tax avoidance’ [3], by awarding contracts to those businesses that can prove they are acting responsibly when it comes to paying tax.

Manchester City Council was first out of the blocks, announcing that it had set up a special task force to examine procurement procedures. Any business found to have breached their tax or other financial obligations in the past five years will now be disqualified from tendering for new contracts until the council is satisfied they have acted to rectify it.

Having paved the way for a fairer approach to doing business, another breakthrough came in January when the Government announced that national guidelines would align with this new way of thinking.

The new Public Procurement Note is a self-certified record of a company’s clean bill of health when it comes to filing its taxes. Any anomalies in a company’s accounts in the last five years could disqualify them from tendering for projects worth over £173,000 for service contracts and £4 million for works contracts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Although this is great news for businesses such as Marshalls that have always felt it their duty to pay the correct levels of tax, this new legislation may take its time to kick in lower down the chain. The Fair Tax Mark offers a way for customers in the public sector to guarantee they are dealing with a business that can be trusted to do the right thing.

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