Antony Jenkins set out his pledge that the bank would only engage in tax planning to support "genuine commercial activity" and ensure it complies with the code of practice on tax that the government required the banks to sign shortly after the 2010 election.
He said the planning should be "of a type the authorities would expect" and also involve customers who are "sophisticated" enough to assess any risks involved.
Any business engaged in for tax planning purposes would also need to be consistent with the bank's purpose and values.
"Should any of these principles be threatened, we will not proceed – regardless of the commercial implications," the bank said.
Barclays would not disclose how much profit was generated by the structured capital markets division – which former Conservative chancellor Lord Lawson has accused of industrial-scale tax avoidance – in the past or how much it expected the division to make in the years ahead.
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