McCarthy Stone is the UK's leading developer and manager of retirement communities. All of our developments and services are based within the UK.
The following sets out the tax strategy adopted by McCarthy & Stone and all other Group subsidiaries (together ‘McCarthy Stone’, the ‘Group’, ‘we’ or ‘or’) from the date published until superseded in accordance with Schedule 19 of the Finance Act 2016.
The taxes that are considered to be covered by our tax strategy are set out in paragraph 15(1), Schedule 19 of Finance Act 2016. These include (but are not limited to) income taxes, corporation tax, VAT and property taxes.
In line with our business strategy and approach, the key principles underpinning the Group’s tax strategy are:
- Compliance with all tax laws and regulations;
- Reputational protection;
- An open and transparent relationship with HMRC; and
- Maximisation of sustainable shareholder value.
Our approach to tax governance and tax risk management
Ownership of the tax strategy, in line with the wider Group business strategy, rests with the Group Board.
Overall responsibility for oversight of the tax affairs of the Group is delegated to the Chief Financial Officer (‘CFO’), who is also the Senior Accounting Officer for all Group entities.
Tax risks are managed through the following robust controls and procedures:
- A risk management framework: this has been implemented across the Group to identify, monitor and manage key business risks, including tax;
- An assurance programme, supported by input from our Internal Audit function: this is in place to ascertain whether the operational and financial controls around key business risks are operating effectively;
- Accounting & tax reporting systems: investment has been made in accounting and tax reporting systems which are used across all divisions in the Group;
- Qualified specialist resources: day-to-day management of the Group’s tax affairs is dealt with by the Director of Tax & Treasury and a central in-house tax department of qualified professionals. The finance team and relevant operating functions work alongside the tax department to adhere to the tax policies and processes in place. The CFO meets with the Director of Tax & Treasury on a regular basis to ensure that key issues are discussed, and tax risks and controls are regularly reviewed. Any major issues are then raised with the Board by the CFO as appropriate. The Risk & Audit Committee will also review any significant Group tax risks; and
- Specialist advisers: specialist tax advice is sought from appropriately qualified specialists when dealing with any material, higher risk or complex issue.
McCarthy Stone has a low risk appetite in relation to tax matters and aims to retain a low risk status with HMRC.
Tax risks are assessed on a case by case basis, ensuring that decisions involving tax are made with due regard to reputational, regulatory and legislative considerations. McCarthy Stone is not prepared to accept a level of risk that could adversely impact its integrity and status as a Group listed on the London Stock Exchange or the Group’s relationship with HMRC
The Group’s attitude towards tax planning
McCarthy Stone engages in appropriate tax planning that supports its business and reflects commercial and economic activity.
We believe that it is our responsibility to pay all amounts of tax which are legally due on the correct date and ensure that all tax returns are filed with HMRC by the due date and in the correct form.
We also have a responsibility to our stakeholders, including our shareholders and employees, to ensure that we do not incur unnecessary tax costs while meeting the Group’s commercial objectives. Where commercial transactions are being entered into, McCarthy Stone will, therefore, when it is deemed responsible and appropriate to do so, seek to minimise its tax liabilities by taking advantage of available tax claims, elections and reliefs. However, the Group has not and will not undertake transactions where the sole purpose is to create a tax benefit which is in excess of what is reasonably understood to be intended by the relevant tax legislation.
External tax advice will be sought in certain situations, for example
- in respect of large, one off transactions to ensure that we do not suffer any unforeseen or unreasonable tax outcomes;
- in areas where we may have insufficient internal expertise; and
- as a second opinion in cases where we believe there is uncertainty with respect to the application of tax law, although we may also approach HMRC directly, to seek clarity or obtain clearance.
All of the profits of the Group are within the scope of UK corporation tax.
Our approach to working with HMRC
McCarthy Stone seeks to ensure that our engagement with HMRC is professional, open and honest, and undertaken in the spirit of cooperation. We aim to make fair, accurate and timely disclosure of all relevant tax returns and correspondence.
We take a proactive approach and take appropriate action in the event that we discover tax related errors or omissions, disclosing to HMRC, implementing remediation as quickly as is reasonably achievable and putting in place measures and controls to prevent recurrence.