William Grant & Sons Holdings Ltd and its subsidiary companies (“WG&S”) is a leading global producer and distributor of alcoholic beverages with a portfolio that includes both own brands and agency products. WG&S is defined by its history and inspired by the future. WG&S' values shape the way it works and living the values helps WG&S achieve its vision to become the most coveted branded spirits company in the world. WG&S has six values: be proud, be responsible, be professional, be entrepreneurial, be sustainable and think long term.
The Group’s approach to tax seeks to enable and support the group’s vision and its values. WG&S supports the adoption of international best practice and governance standards in respect of fiscal and other policies in the countries in which it operates. WG&S believes that a fair and effective tax system is in the interests of tax-payers and society in the widest context and can contribute to the fight against poverty and corruption. WG&S recognises the importance of its social and economic impact on the communities in which it operates and our total economic contribution, including tax, can be a significant element of wealth creation for these communities.
WG&S’ tax contributions include excise remittances, import duties, corporate income tax, VAT, payroll and other taxes we pay or collect on behalf of governments. WG&S’ economic contribution also includes jobs, investments, buying and selling goods and services, dividends, knowledge and skills transfers.
WG&S manages and reports its tax affairs in a manner which ensures compliance with all fiscal obligations and is consistent with international best practice guidelines, such as international accounting standards and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (“OECD”) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Tax is a business expense which needs to be managed, like any other.
The Board of William Grant & Sons Holdings Ltd, via its Audit Committee approves the Group’s Tax Policy and monitors compliance. It delegates authority to execute against this policy to the Group CFO and Group Head of Tax. The Group Head of Tax is also responsible for ensuring that policies and procedures that support the approach are in place, maintained and used consistently around the world, and that the Global Tax Team has the skills and experience to implement the approach appropriately. Professional advice is obtained from suitably qualified external advisors where the tax treatment of specific items is uncertain.
WG&S pays tax in accordance with all relevant laws and regulations in the territories in which it operates.
Our approach is focused on the following principles:
· WG&S is committed to the effective, balanced and active management of our tax affairs to deliver our business plans and create sustainable value.
· WG&S pursues an open, co-operative and collaborative working relationship with all tax authorities and as part of this aim, adheres to a policy of disclosure in respect of all material tax matters.
· Tax incentives and exemptions are sometimes implemented by governments and fiscal authorities in order to support investment, employment and economic development. Where they exist we seek to apply them in the manner intended.
· WG&S conducts its business on sound commercial principles and, in doing so, takes account of all relevant costs, including tax.
· To the extent that WG&S undertakes tax planning, it only takes place where WG&S has commercial substance and we operate to a high standard of certainty. WG&S does not engage in artificial tax arrangements.
· Transactions between WG&S subsidiaries are conducted on an arms-length basis in accordance with appropriate transfer pricing rules and OECD principles. This ensures that the group’s global profits are taxed where economic activities are performed and where value is created.
· WG&S reports on a periodic basis to the WG&S Audit Committee on how tax risks are managed, monitored and assured on improvements that are being made. In this way the Audit Committee provides governance and oversight of tax risks.
· Where appropriate, WG&S will express views on the formulation of tax laws either directly or through trade associations or similar bodies.
WG&S’ aim is to minimise the level of risk in relation to UK taxation at all times. WG&S is not prepared to accept a level of risk that exposes it to reputational harm or which could adversely impact its relationship with HRMC. However, given the scale of WG&S’ business and the complexity of tax legislation it is inevitable that tax risks will arise. WG&S shall comply with its legal obligations and interpret legislation in a reasonable way that is aligned with the intentions of Parliament. Where genuine differences of opinion occur on the application of tax law, WG&S will first seek to resolve these with HMRC through open dialogue and references to the relevant legislation and case law.
WG&S regards the publication of this tax strategy as complying with its duty under paragraph 16(2) of Schedule 19 of the Finance Act 2016.