The statement below, by Hastings Group Holdings plc (“HGH”) as the parent company of the Hastings Group (the “Group”) of the Group's tax strategy, explains the Group's tax arrangements and meets the Group’s obligations in accordance with para 16(2) of Schedule 19 of Finance Act 2016 for the financial year ended 31 December 2019.
Our aim is to adopt a principled and sustainable tax strategy that underpins the Group’s desire to balance the various interests of all its stakeholders, including shareholders, customers, governments, regulators, colleagues, and the community interests which it serves.
The Group seeks to ensure that it complies with all legal requirements both in the UK and in all other jurisdictions where it operates, by making all appropriate returns and payments in respect of its own tax liabilities and by collecting taxes on behalf of the relevant tax authorities in accordance with prescribed rules and deadlines.
The Group ensures that it maintains an effective risk management framework, which includes a set of risk management policies used to identify, measure and record all risks across the Group including tax risks. The key tax risks are assessed and documented in line with the risk management framework and appropriate controls are put in place to mitigate the key tax risks identified from this process. The primary responsibility for tax risk management rests with the Chief Financial Officer who is supported by the Group Tax team and other senior finance staff across the Group. In addition key tax processes are periodically subject to internal audit.
Tax Planning and Level of Risk
Where the Group enters into business transactions, the tax consequences will be determined and communicated to relevant colleagues in the business to enable informed decisions to be made. The Group only enters into transactions that are commercially driven and will not undertake any tax planning that is inconsistent with either the letter or spirit of tax legislation.
We proactively monitor changes to relevant tax legislation and practice as it affects the Group and its activities. We continually seek to identify, evaluate, manage and monitor risks that arise in respect of the interpretation of tax legislation and compliance arrangements, to ensure they remain in line with the Group’s low risk appetite. The Group uses external advisors to supplement its in-house expertise where appropriate.
Relationship with Tax Authorities
The Group aims to have an open and constructive relationship with HMRC and other tax authorities in the jurisdictions where it operates, whilst seeking to enhance returns and create shareholder value by appropriately managing the Group’s tax affairs and claiming reliefs where available and appropriate. In the event that there is a dispute with any tax authority the Group would seek to resolve the matter through proactive and transparent discussions and negotiations.
This strategy is approved, owned and overseen by the Board.