Balfour Beatty recognises that paying taxes arising from its activities is an important part of how it contributes to the societies which it helps to build. The Group makes a major contribution to the tax revenues of governments in the numerous territories in which it operates. For example, the Group’s tax contribution extends significantly beyond corporation tax and the collection of substantial amounts of income tax and includes the payment of significant employer social security contributions. The Group’s tax strategy, approved by the Board, is to sustainably minimise tax cost whilst complying with the law. In doing so, it ensures it acts in accordance with Balfour Beatty’s ethics, values and Business Integrity programme. The Group aims to meet all legal requirements, filing all appropriate tax returns and making tax payments accurately and on time. The Group’s tax strategy applies to all territories in which it does business.
Balfour Beatty has clear tax policies, procedures and controls in place which are overseen by the Chief Financial Officer. A dedicated internal tax team, led by the Group Head of Tax, is responsible for the implementation of the Group’s tax strategy and supporting tax policies. Members of the tax team are highly experienced with appropriate professional qualifications and experience which reflect the responsibilities required for their roles.
Tax risk appetite
The Group manages its tax affairs in a proactive manner that seeks to maximise shareholder value. The Group does not enter into artificial arrangements that lack commercial purpose in order to secure a tax advantage. The aim is to ensure full compliance with all statutory obligations and as a consequence attempt to minimise risk wherever possible.
Managing tax risk
There are a number of factors that affect the Group’s tax risk and these arise both internally and externally. Balfour Beatty’s ability to control these factors varies and its internal tax team works to minimise these risks to an acceptable level. For example:
- new and developing tax legislation is monitored and where it is relevant Balfour Beatty participates in consultations issued by the tax authorities. When new or changed legislation is announced, the impact on the Group is assessed and active measures are taken to ensure there are adequate processes in place to comply with any change;
- tax risks in relation to compliance and reporting are managed by meeting regularly with professional advisers, industry groups and the tax authorities to both keep abreast of changes in these areas and to seek information on new systems and software – risk in relation to tax in general is managed by the internal tax team and if a position is uncertain the Group may obtain third-party advice in order to gain clarity or support for a particular stance or approach.
Interaction with tax authorities
Balfour Beatty’s approach to its tax affairs is supported by an open, honest and positive working relationship with the tax authorities, with regular dialogue. Should any dispute arise with regard to the interpretation and application of tax law, the Group is committed to addressing the matter promptly and resolving it in an open and constructive manner.