Business must be open about tax affairs, says CBI
Businesses must make more effort to show that their tax affairs are legal and above board to the public, says The Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
According to a new CBI survey, 23% of customers over the last year have actively avoided a company because of doubts regarding its tax affairs and whether or not it was paying its fair share.
The CBI's survey found a public perception that there was a 31% 'tax gap' between what HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are expecting to collect in corporation tax and the amount that companies actually pay. In fact in 2012-13, the gap was 9% and stood at a figure of £3.9bn.
The poll also found that 64% of those who took part thought that the business community doesn't care about public opinion when it comes to how much tax a firm pays, and 71% felt that the Government could do more to deal with the issue of corporate tax avoidance.
CBI Director-General, John Cridland, said: "Business has a great story to tell. I travel up and down the country speaking to businesses – small, medium and large, family-owned and start-ups. It's clear that without their £175bn tax contribution [in 2014] we simply wouldn't be able to afford the services we all rely on - from the schools that educate our children, to the NHS that looks after us when we need it."
"But the misconception that businesses don't pay the right amount of tax will continue unless they can clearly show how they are behaving as responsible taxpayers," Cridland added.