The Ageas UK Group has a co-operative and collaborative relationship with HMRC and supports the UK Government’s continued efforts to improve the tax transparency and compliance of corporate bodies.
Ageas welcomes the initiative to publish its tax strategy.
(in compliance with paragraph 19(2) of Schedule 19 of the Finance Act 2016)
Ageas’ tax strategy is to maintain a sustainable and transparent approach to taxation; meeting its tax obligations by paying tax where and when it is due.
Approach to risk management and governance arrangements
The Ageas UK Boards have adopted a robust approach to Corporate Governance and have established guiding principles for Corporate Governance, which, together with the Ageas Code of Conduct, set out the minimum standards for the conduct of business within Ageas. The Boards have overall responsibility for defining Ageas’ values, policies and standards; and, supported by the Board Risk and Audit Committees, for approving appropriate frameworks for risk management and control; and assessing the effectiveness of compliance thereof.
The Boards of the Ageas UK Group (“Group”) are responsible for determining Ageas’ strategy and risk appetite, based on a solid understanding of the strategic challenges and related risks facing its businesses.
The Boards have overall responsibility, and are supported by the Audit Committee, for ensuring that the tax obligations of the Group are understood, complied with and managed appropriately.
The Group has an in-house tax function that works within the parameters set for risk management that apply to the wider business and the day to day responsibility for working within those parameters is delegated to the Head of Tax. Key tax risks are identified and appropriate procedures and controls implemented to mitigate those risks. Procedures and controls are embedded operationally and reviewed and tested across the business. Effectiveness of procedures and controls and any remedial action taken is also considered annually as part of the Group’s Senior Accounting Officer certification.
Fulfilling the Group’s tax obligations and working transparently and co-operatively with HMRC is an integral part of the Group’s tax strategy.
Attitude towards tax planning
The Group’s primary purpose is to serve its customers and deliver sustainable economic benefit to its shareholders. This can only be achieved through maintaining good relationships with all of its stakeholders, including HMRC.
Tax is managed and controlled within a commercial context such that underlying business purpose and commercial rationale are the basis behind any tax outcome. Claims for reliefs and deductions will be made in accordance with legislation. Where appropriate, the Group will seek external professional tax advice with regards to certain transactions; to ascertain industry practice; or to ensure it remains compliant with developments in law and practice.
The Group does not participate in aggressive tax planning or arrangements that would be reportable under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes regime, the EU Directive on Administrative Co-operation or that would be likely to fall under the General Anti-Abuse Rule.
Management of tax risk
Tax risk is considered alongside commercial, regulatory and other legislative requirements in line with the Group’s framework for risk management.
The in-house tax function works within the framework of its tax policy which is derived from the overarching tax strategy and is approved annually by the Ageas UK Audit Committee.
Resources are focused on mitigation of tax risks and improving tax efficiencies rather than aggressive tax planning in order to support sustainable business performance.
Approach towards dealings with HMRC
Ageas promotes an open, transparent and collaborative relationship with HMRC through timely submission of tax returns and prompt responses to queries arising, timely correspondence regarding developments in relation to the Group’s tax affairs (including real time engagement to agree or clarify the application of tax legislation to a particular transaction where appropriate) and periodic meetings as required to ensure HMRC remains informed about the business and its evolution.
The Group is also subject to HMRC’s Business Risk Review process and continues to work proactively to address current and future tax risks.
Ageas (UK) Limited
4th May 2020