Paying our dues
Here at the Ageas UK Group, we have a co-operative and collaborative relationship with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and support the UK government’s continued efforts to improve the tax transparency and compliance of corporate bodies. So, we welcome the opportunity to publish our tax strategy.
Our tax strategy is to maintain a sustainable and transparent approach to tax, by meeting all our obligations to pay tax when it’s due. This is in compliance with paragraph 19(2) of Schedule 19 of the Finance Act 2016.
Our approach to risk management and governance arrangements
The Ageas UK Boards have adopted a robust approach to corporate governance and established guiding principles, which, together with the Ageas Principles of Business Conduct, describe the minimum standards for the conduct of business within Ageas. Our Boards have overall responsibility for defining our values, policies and standards. Supported by the Board Risk and Audit Committees, they also approve the appropriate frameworks for risk management and control, as well as assessing the effectiveness of our compliance.
The Boards of the Ageas UK Group are responsible for determining our strategy and risk appetite, based on a solid understanding of the strategic challenges and related risks facing our businesses.
Supported by the Audit Committee, our Boards have overall responsibility 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. These apply to the wider business. The Head of Tax has daily responsibility for working within those parameters. 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. The effectiveness of procedures and controls, and any remedial action taken, is also considered annually as part of our Group’s Senior Accounting Officer certification.
Fulfilling our tax obligations and working transparently and co-operatively with HMRC is an integral part of our Group’s tax strategy.
Our attitude to tax planning
The Group’s primary purpose is to serve our customers and deliver sustainable economic benefit to our shareholders. We can only achieve this by maintaining good relationships with all of our stakeholders, including HMRC.
Tax is managed and controlled within a commercial context, and underlying business purpose and commercial rationale are the basis behind any tax outcome. Claims for reliefs and deductions are 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 make sure we remain compliant with any developments in law and practice.
The Group does not participate in aggressive tax planning or arrangements that would be likely to fall under the General Anti-Abuse Rule.
Our 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.
Our in-house tax function works within the framework of our tax policy, which is derived from the overarching tax strategy and is approved annually by the Ageas UK Audit Committee.
We focus our resources on the mitigation of tax risks and improving tax efficiencies, rather than aggressive tax planning in order to support sustainable business performance.
Our relationship with HMRC
We have an open, transparent and collaborative relationship with HMRC, through timely submission of our tax returns, prompt responses to any queries, and timely correspondence regarding developments in relation to the Group’s tax affairs. This includes real-time engagement to agree or clarify the application of tax legislation to a particular transaction where appropriate. Plus, we have regular meetings to make sure HMRC is always up to speed about our business and its evolution.
The Group is also subject to HMRC’s Business Risk Review process and has worked to address past, current and future tax risks.