The UK Code of Conduct for Banks has been published

June 29th, 2009

The government has published its consultation document on the planned Code of Conduct of Banks.

It justifies targeting banks for these reasons:

Tax avoidance is not exclusive to banks, but banks are uniquely placed in that they:

•  can seek to avoid their own tax liabilities, whether this involves increasing the recovery of VAT incurred on their transactions, reducing their profits liable to corporation tax or minimising their and their employees’ income tax and national insurance contributions;
•  provide financial services to customers, many of which services are sensitive to tax and some of which can be used for tax avoidance; and
•  have access to large amounts of capital which  they can use to facilitate avoidance schemes designed and implemented by others, for example by providing loans of tens of billions of pounds for periods sometimes as short as a few hours.

The Government believes that, in the light of the significant taxpayer support provided to stabilise the banking system, taxpayers are entitled to expect that banks, important taxpayers in their own right, and their customers pay their fair share of tax.

I’ll have more to say on this later.

Written by Richard Murphy

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