It is our policy to conduct all of our business in an honest and ethical manner. We take a zero-tolerance approach to facilitation of tax evasion, whether under the law of any foreign country. We are committed to acting professionally, fairly and with integrity in all our business dealings and relationships wherever we operate and implement and enforce effective systems to counter tax evasion facilitation. We will uphold all laws relevant to countering tax evasion, including the Criminal Finances Act 2017.
The purpose of this policy is to:
As an employer, if we fail to prevent our employees, workers, agents or service providers facilitating tax evasion, we can face criminal sanctions including an unlimited fine, as well as exclusion from tendering for public contracts and damage to our reputation. We therefore take our legal responsibilities seriously.
In this policy, third party means any individual or organisation you come into contact with during the course of your work for us, and includes actual and potential clients, customers, suppliers, distributors, business contacts, agents, advisers, and government and public bodies, including their advisers, representatives and officials, politicians and political parties.
This policy does not form part of any employee’s contract of employment and we may amend it at any time.
The compliance officer is the General Counsel or her nominee.
This policy applies to all persons working for us or any Group Company or on our behalf in any capacity, including employees at all levels, directors, officers, agency workers, seconded workers, volunteers, interns, agents, contractors, external consultants, third-party representatives and business partners, sponsors, or any other person associated with us, wherever located.
The Board of Directors has overall responsibility for ensuring this policy complies with our legal and ethical obligations, and that all those under our control comply with it. The compliance officer has primary and day-to-day responsibility for implementing this policy, monitoring its use and effectiveness, dealing with any queries about it, and auditing internal control systems and procedures to ensure they are effective in preventing the facilitation of tax evasion. Management at all levels are responsible for ensuring those reporting to them understand and comply with this policy and are given adequate and regular training on it. You are invited to comment on this policy and suggest ways in which it might be improved. Comments, suggestions and queries should be addressed to the compliance officer.
For the purposes of this policy:
(country) by another person, or aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of that offence. Tax evasion facilitation is a criminal offence, where it is done deliberately and dishonestly.
Under the Criminal Finances Act 2017, a separate criminal offence is automatically committed by a corporate entity or partnership where the tax evasion is facilitated by a person acting in the capacity of an “associated person” to that body. For the offence to be made out, the associated person must deliberately and dishonestly take action to facilitate the tax evasion by the taxpayer. If the associated person accidentally, ignorantly, or negligently facilitates the tax evasion, then the corporate offence will not have been committed. The company does not have to have deliberately or dishonestly facilitated the tax evasion itself; the fact that the associated person has done so creates the liability for the company.
Tax evasion is not the same as tax avoidance or tax planning. Tax evasion involves deliberate and dishonest conduct. Tax avoidance is not illegal and involves taking steps, within the law, to minimise tax payable (or maximise tax reliefs).
In this policy, all references to tax include national insurance contributions and their equivalent in local jurisdictions.
It is not acceptable for you (or someone on your behalf) to:
You must ensure that you read, understand and comply with this policy. The prevention, detection and reporting of tax evasion and foreign tax evasion are the responsibility of all those working for us or under our control. You are required to avoid any activity that might lead to, or suggest, a breach of this policy.
You must notify your line manager and/or the compliance officer as soon as possible if you believe or suspect that a conflict with this policy has occurred, or may occur in the future. For example, if an employee or supplier asks to be paid into an offshore bank account, without good reason, or a supplier asks to be paid in cash, indicating that this will mean the payment is not subject to VAT. Further “red flags” that may indicate potential tax evasion or foreign tax evasion are set out in clause 12.
You are encouraged to raise concerns about any issue or suspicion of tax evasion or foreign tax evasion at the earliest possible stage.
If you become aware of any fraudulent evasion of tax (whether UK tax or tax in a foreign country) by another person in the course of your work, or you are asked to assist another person in their fraudulent evasion of tax (whether directly or indirectly), or if you believe or suspect that any fraudulent evasion of tax has occurred or may occur, whether in respect to UK tax or tax in a foreign country, you must notify your line manager and/or the compliance officer as soon as possible.
If you are unsure about whether a particular act constitutes tax evasion or foreign tax evasion, raise it with your line manager and/or the compliance officer as soon as possible. You should note that the corporate offence is only committed where you deliberately and dishonestly take action to facilitate tax evasion or foreign tax evasion. If you do not take any such action, then the offence will not be made out. However, a deliberate failure to report suspected tax evasion or foreign tax evasion, or “turning a blind eye” to suspicious activity could amount to criminal facilitation of tax evasion.
Individuals who raise concerns or report another’s wrongdoing, are sometimes worried about possible repercussions. We aim to encourage openness and will support anyone who raises genuine concerns in good faith under this policy, even if they turn out to be mistaken.
We are committed to ensuring no one suffers any detrimental treatment as a result of:
Training on this policy forms part of the induction process for all individuals who work for us, and regular training will be provided as necessary. Such training may form part of wider financial crime detection and prevention training.
Our zero-tolerance approach to tax evasion and foreign tax evasion must be communicated to all suppliers, contractors and business partners at the outset of our business relationship with them and as appropriate after that.
Any employee who breaches this policy will face disciplinary action, which could result in dismissal for misconduct or gross misconduct.
We may terminate our relationship with other individuals and organisations working on our behalf if they breach this policy.
The following is a list of possible red flags that may arise during the course of you working for us and which may raise concerns related to tax evasion or foreign tax evasion. The list is not intended to be exhaustive and is for illustrative purposes only.
If you encounter any of these red flags while working for us, you must report them promptly to your line manager and/or the compliance officer: