In 2013, investigative journalist and former tax-inspector Richard Brooks published the Great Tax Robbery: How Britain Became A Tax Haven For Fat Cats And Big Business, which exposed the scale of tax avoidance in the UK, looking at the role of multi-national corporations and the British Government. In concluding, Brooks called for the establishment of an independent think-tank focussing on the tax-system, writing:
“one effective practical initiative would be to monitor systematically multinationals’ tax payments and action (or inaction) against tax avoidance, as far as they can be identified: ‘TaxWatch’, perhaps.”1
After reading the Great Tax Robbery, Julian Richer, the founder of hi-fi and TV specialist Richer Sounds, reached out to Brooks and the two of them set about establishing TaxWatch. In an interview with The Guardian, Richer stated:
“We pay our taxes but these people are just laughing at us. You can’t move these days for stories about people and companies trying to find ever more ingenious ways to avoid paying their tax bill, whether it’s tech giants, celebrities or major landowners.”2
Work started to recruit a Board of Directors, and an Editorial Committee to oversee the think tank’s output and staff. TaxWatch was officially launched in October 2018, when it incorporated as a company limited by guarantee. Investigative journalist George Turner was recruited as TaxWatch’s first Executive Director. Brooks became chair of TaxWatch’s editorial committee, and Julian Richer chair of the board of directors.
Since its establishment, research published by TaxWatch has featured in many major news outlets across the world, and our research has been cited in the House of Commons on a number of occasions. A selection of our media coverage can be found on the page “TaxWatch in the News”.
1Pg 260, The Great Tax Robbery, Richard Brooks
2Richer Sounds boss launches crusade to expose tax avoiders. 27 May 2018, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/may/27/julian-richer-crusade-expose-tax-avoiders-richer-sounds