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Tax Strategy

1 Introduction

This page sets out the strategic tax objectives for Shaftesbury PLC and its subsidiaries (“the Group”).

It is not designed to be an operational manual with detailed instructions on the execution of the processes. The processes and controls which support the delivery of the strategic tax objectives are regularly reviewed and are filed on the central Senior Accounting Officer (“SAO”) file.

1.1 Scope

The tax strategy and strategic objectives are intended to apply to Shaftesbury PLC and its subsidiaries.

The strategy applies to:

  • All corporate income taxes (including REIT compliance)
  • Indirect taxes (VAT, SDLT)
  • Employment taxes (PAYE/NI/CIS)
  • Other applicable tax matters (e.g. Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings returns)

1.2 Ownership and approval 

The tax strategy is prepared and updated by the Finance Director, in conjunction with the finance team and is approved by the Board.  Overall execution of the strategy is the responsibility of the Board, with day-to-day responsibility delegated to the Finance Director.

The strategy applies to all Shaftesbury staff that have a responsibility for tax.  It is communicated to relevant stakeholders in the business.

It is reviewed and updated, as necessary, on an annual basis, taking into account changes to our structure or how we do business.

2 Tax strategy and strategic objectives

2.1 Strategy principles

The group invests in real estate (held for long term investment for rental return and capital appreciation) in London’s West End.  The group comprehensively manages its assets with a view to long-term sustainable rental growth and value creation. Tax is a consequence of the activities the group undertakes. The group pays its taxes within due dates.  

2.2 Tax strategy and risk appetite

The group’s tax strategy is compliance-based; its strategy is to account for tax on an accurate and timely basis.

The group’s appetite for tax risk is low and we only structure our affairs based on sound commercial principles. Aggressive tax planning is not proactively considered. 

We maintain an open dialogue with HMRC with a view to identifying and solving issues promptly. Following a review by HMRC in 2016, Shaftesbury was designated a “Low Risk” taxpayer. It is our objective to maintain our “Low Risk” status with HMRC.

Within acceptable parameters, we only seek to structure our affairs based on sound commercial principles.  

3 Governance/resources

The tax strategy is delivered by our tax operating model and the people we employ in the business that have responsibility for tax compliance. Our tax operating model is underpinned by a schedule of accounting routines and a summary of our key tax risks and the associated mitigating controls that we monitor to ensure we remain tax compliant.

3.1 Roles and responsibilities

The Finance Director has overall responsibility for the execution of the strategy. The Finance Director acts as Senior Accounting Officer (SAO) and as part of this role must submit an annual certificate to HMRC stating that the group has appropriate tax accounting arrangements.

On a day to day basis, preparation of information and returns and payments of tax are dealt with by the finance team:

  • All corporate income taxes (including REIT compliance)        Group Accountant
  • Indirect taxes (VAT, SDLT)        Financial Controller
  • Employment taxes (PAYE/NI/CIS)         Finance Director
  • Other applicable tax matters (eg Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings returns)         Finance Director
  • Payments        Financial Controller

3.2 Risk identification and reporting

Tax risks are documented in a risk register.

Risk and internal controls are reviewed regularly and are reported as part of overall reporting on risk and controls to the Audit Committee and the Board. At each review, tax risks are considered and updated in the risk register, as appropriate.

Items to be reported to the Board by the Finance Director:

  • Significant tax risks
  • Changes in legislation which are likely to have a material impact on the Group
  • Significant transactions which are undertaken to support the commercial activity and have a significant tax impact.  In the main this will relate to acquisitions, developments and disposals where there is already a formal reporting process to the Board by the surveyor responsible for the property in question, which includes input on tax matters from the Finance Director.

3.3 Training

The members of the finance team responsible for accounting for tax are encouraged to undertake relevant training.

3.4 Use of professional advisors

To the extent required, appropriate professional advice is sought in respect of day to day compliance and, inter alia, the items noted in 3.2 above.

3.5 Change management

Changes to tax legislation which affect the group are discussed with the group’s tax advisors on an ongoing basis.  These are then considered in the risks review noted in 3.2 above

3.6 Document retention

Records and documents used to prepare tax returns will be retained for at least the period required by the Finance Act (generally 6 years from the end of the accounting period)

Date: 29 November 2016