Building Public Trust Awards - Rewarding good practice in tax reporting

December 02, 2016

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In July this year I joined the firm on the Higher Apprenticeship scheme as part of the Total Tax Contribution (TTC) & Tax Transparency team. I had been aware that in recent years, tax has gained more and more interest from a range of stakeholders including the media, and not always in a positive light. This seemed particularly the case for large companies and the taxes they pay. Since joining the team at PwC I have worked on the Building Public Trust Awards project. This has given me the opportunity to see the challenges that companies have and put these issues in a new light. There is a great message to put out to the public: many companies, as well as complying with UK tax laws, also go out of their way to communicate more about their tax affairs.

Our review of the largest corporates in the UK, includes a number of indicators for each of the three areas of the PwC Tax Transparency Framework – 1) tax strategy and risk management, 2) tax numbers and performance and 3) TTC and the wider impact of tax.

The media frequently suggests large corporations pay little tax and say little about their tax affairs. After looking through just a small handful of reports, I have seen that this is not the case. Many companies are making tax their priority and ‘go the extra mile’ to make sure their stakeholders know more about the taxes that they pay. They’re not only creating sections in their annual reports to explain their taxes, but some are creating dedicated stand-alone reports and webpages with infographics to help further explain and get their message across about tax. In many cases, I think these messages are now clear enough for a non-tax expert.

The winners for Tax Reporting of our BPTA awards in the FTSE350 MNC’s, FTSE350 UK Focused and FTSE350 Extractives were announced on 29th November, and the results are now live on the PwC Building Public Trust Awards website.  With changes in legislation recently made whereby large corporations will now have to disclose their tax strategy publically, it will be very interesting to analyse the impact of this new legislation in the annual reports for 2016/17 and to see who wins the awards next year.  The changes have the potential to clearly distinguish between those companies who genuinely feel tax is an important issue to be addressed and those companies who state their tax strategy just because it’s now a requirement.

Findings of our transparency review this year of the FTSE100 for 2015 December year ends can be found here. The Building Public Trust Awards book of good examples of tax reporting is available via this link.

If you’d like to know more on the topic or would like to attend a workshop that we’re co-hosting with Business in the Community in February 2017 on how to approach tax transparency, please email me at <[email protected]> and I will contact you with the details.

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