Open about tax

Paying our fair share, our tax strategy.

The Co-op’s purpose is to champion ‘a better way of doing business for you and your communities’. Our tax policy reflects this:

  • we believe it is important to pay our fair share of tax in accordance with all relevant laws and regulations at the right time
  • we are open and honest in all dealings with tax authorities and communicate with HMRC regularly on significant tax issues affecting our business
  • we do not and will not use tax havens for tax avoidance purposes and we do not use artificial tax avoidance schemes to reduce the Co-op’s tax liabilities
  • we will not take an aggressive stance in our interpretation of tax legislation but we will claim the proper statutory reliefs to which we are legally and legitimately entitled within the normal operation and management of the Co-op’s businesses
  • we are committed to clearly explaining our tax numbers in our annual report, beyond accounting standards requirements, to help all stakeholders understand our tax position
  • we are open about the global location of our subidiaries, and a full list can be found on our website here
  • The Co-op has a low appetite for tax risk framed by its Purpose and social responsibility principles. Processes and controls are in place to ensure compliance with applicable legislation and to minimise tax risk.
  • The Group Risk and Audit Committee are updated and made aware of the Group’s tax position and any tax risks.

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We recognise that tax is a complex subject and sometimes help will be needed to understand the tax implications of our business decisions. The Co-op has an in-house tax team to assess such decisions on a day to day basis, with the support of appropriate tax reporting processes and systems. External support from tax advisers may also be sought to provide specialist resourcing if needed.

Responsibility for all tax reporting and adherence to the Tax Policy sits with the Tax department who report to the Chief Finance Officer, who is ultimately responsible for the tax affairs of the Co-op.

The Tax Policy and Strategy Statement is reviewed and approved by the Group Board on an annual basis. (Last approval date: December 2019).

This Statement is intended to comply with the requirements of the Finance Act 2016, paragraph 16(2) Schedule 19, which requires a Tax Strategy to be published annually and accessible to the public.

Our Fair Tax Mark approved tax disclosures can be found in our annual report.

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