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  • by Karma Loveday

Affinity Water wins accreditation mark for tax payment practice

Affinity Water has become the second water firm, and the 50th company across all sectors, to secure Fair Tax Mark accreditation. This is an independent certification scheme which recognises organisations that demonstrate they are paying the right amount of corporation tax in the right place, at the right time.

As part of the accreditation process, Affinity improved its tax reporting, bolstered its tax strategy and closed its Caymans finance subsidiary. Chief finance officer Stuart Ledger said: “As a community focused company, we understand the expectations of customers and stakeholders to pay our fair share of tax. Today’s award recognises this, and the steps we have taken to improve the transparency of our tax affairs. It is good corporate responsibility to operate in this way. Our activities are and have always been fully taxable in the UK.”

Paul Monaghan, Fair Tax Mark chief executive, said: “At a time when the public is growing used to headlines about big corporates shifting profits to tax havens and minimising the contributions they make to the public purse, it’s refreshing to see a business that is proud to say what they pay.

“It’s particularly heartening to see that a small but increasing number of utilities companies are taking these issues more seriously and leading the way on tax. Many aspects of utilities provision are natural monopolies, with customers having little choice as to who supplies them. This brings with it significant profit opportunities for business, but also the responsibility to pay a fair share of tax on those profits.”

Utilities with Fair Tax Mark accreditation include South West Water parent Pennon Group and SSE. Other businesses with the credit include Lush, Richer Sounds, Timpson Group, Leeds Building Society and the Co-op.

Some £400bn of global corporate profits are shifted annually to tax havens, with corporate tax revenue losses in the UK of some £7bn a year.

Monaghan observed: “Corporation Tax is often presented as a burden, but it shouldn’t be. Not when considered against the huge array of public services it helps fund – from education, health and social care, to flood defence, roads, policing and defence. It also plays a crucial role in holding the whole tax system together – helping to counter financial inequalities and rebalance distorted economies.”

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