This document sets out the strategic tax objectives for Shaftesbury PLC and its subsidiaries (“the Group”). This strategy applies to Shaftesbury PLC and its subsidiary companies. In making it publically available, we are fulfilling our responsibilities under Schedule 19 of the Finance Act 2016 for the accounting period ending 30 September 2019.
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.
The tax strategy and strategic objectives are intended to apply to Shaftesbury PLC and its subsidiaries.
The strategy applies to UK Taxation as defined within the UK tax strategy legislation (see para 15, Sch 19 FA16).
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. We do not engage in planning schemes or arrangements that we consider could be perceived as being aggressive or artificial in nature. 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.
The Group’s governance and risk management framework, including the Board’s appetite for risk, is set out in our Annual Report. Our tax operating model forms part of this framework and is delivered by the people we employ in the business that have responsibility for tax compliance. It is underpinned by accounting routines and a summary of our key tax risks with associated mitigating controls, which we monitor to ensure we remain tax-compliant.
Our compliance manual, which is given to all staff, compiles the Group’s compliance policies, procedures and controls to ensure that we comply with the statutory and regulatory rules applicable to us. It includes our tax strategy.
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.
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. Tax risks are included in the risk register.
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 relates 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.
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: 22 November 2018