Christian Aid 'thrilled' with new anti-tax dodging legislation

Finance minister Mairtin Ó Muilleoir as he visited the Christian Aid office in Belfast where he was joined by Dave Thomas, Deborah Doherty and Caroline Knox of Christian Aid
Andrew Madden

WORLDWIDE charity Christian Aid has welcomed the announcement of new measures to be introduced by the department of finance in a bid to curb company tax-dodging.

After a year of lobbying by the charity on the issue, companies bidding on large public contracts from the government will be asked by to provide proof that they pay the right amount of tax.

Furthermore, companies who have won contracts will have to undergo ongoing checks to ensure they continue to comply with tax regulations.

Finance minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said the new legislation strengthens the government’s position on ‘unacceptable’ practices.

“These new measures are a step forward in ensuring that the companies government deals with are taking a fair approach to tax,” he said.

“The new questions strengthen our position on companies that put in place complex tax avoidance arrangements and structures that are considered unacceptable by HMRC.

“Companies will have to disclose if any of their tax returns have been found to be ‘incorrect’ by HMRC.”

Christian Aid’s campaigns co-ordinator David Thomas said the charity was "thrilled" with the news.

“There is an increasing public mood of anger around those individuals and companies who do not pay their taxes, especially in this time of cuts and austerity measures,” he said.

“This will send out the message that tax dodging is not an acceptable way to do business.”

According to the International Money Fund, developing countries are losing hundreds of millions each year due to corporate tax dodging.

This announcement follows Christian Aid’s recent ‘Sourced’ initiative, which seeks to convince local councils to add corporate tax compliance questions to their public contract procurement processes.

Currently, five of Northern Ireland's 11 councils have signed up to the scheme and Minister Ó Muilleoir encouraged those remaining to do so.

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