Our approach to tax planning:
We understand the importance of the taxes we pay in supporting the development and growth of the communities in which we operate and take a responsible approach in respect of our tax obligations.
We operate under the following principles:
- We shall only engage in tax planning that is aligned with the commercial and economic activity and does not lead to an abusive result
- We shall interpret the relevant tax laws in a way consistent with a relationship of cooperative compliance with relevant tax authorities
- We shall be open and transparent with tax authorities about our tax affairs and provide all relevant information that is necessary for those authorities to review possible tax risks
- We shall work collaboratively with tax authorities to achieve early agreement on disputed issues and certainty on a real-time basis wherever possible
Our approach to tax risk:
Tax risk is one of the commercial risks that the Group is exposed to. Management of tax risk aims to ensure that the Group pays and collects the right amount of tax and meets reporting and disclosure requirements whilst meeting our business objectives.
Where there is uncertainty surrounding the interpretation of tax law, we will seek second opinions from external tax advisors, having established our own understanding of the position, and/or seek to resolve the uncertainty by dialogue with the tax authorities.
We take a responsible approach to managing our tax affairs. As a Group we will always comply with applicable tax laws and regulations.
Our approach to tax risk follows the same principles that apply to all other business risks. We consider reputational and corporate social responsibility as well as purely financial impacts. We are particularly aware of our wider population of stakeholders in matters related to tax, including the tax authorities.
When making decisions on tax we consider the materiality of any item, as well as the cost of effective risk mitigation actions. Specifically, there are not predefined limits of the amount of acceptable risk; it is judged on an issue by issue basis.
In the year ended 31 December 2016, we paid a total of £11.4 million in cash taxes. As well as making a substantial tax contribution, we act as a collector of tax, collecting and pay £60.5 million of such taxes in the year.
During the year ended 31 December 2016, the Group made payments of corporate income tax of £0.9 million.
In addition to corporate income tax, we pay a significant amount of other taxes. In the year ended 31 December 2016 these totalled £10.4 million including business rates which amounted to nearly £4.2m. Other taxes include employer’s national insurance contributions, exercise duties, non-recoverable VAT and environmental taxes.