The Board of Directors acknowledge the responsibility to publish the Group Tax Strategy in accordance with the requirements of Schedule 19 Finance Act 2016. The WH Bowker Group Tax Strategy applies to all WH Bowker Group and subsidiary companies which are as follows:
- WH Bowker Limited (Group parent) - Company number 00364757 WH Bowker Group subsidiary companies: -
- Bowker Preston Limited - Company number 00805059
- Bowker Blackburn Limited - Company number 01364761
- Bowker Motorcycles Limited – Company number 06034145
- Bowker Ribble Valley Limited – Company number 05792266
- Bowker Performance Cars Limited – Company number 11021042
- The Used Car Warehouse Limited – Company number 00581183
- James Nuttall (Holdings) Limited - Company number 11020584
- W H Bowker (Rochdale) Limited – Company number 01260308
- Queensway Commercials Limited - Company number 08916963
- James Nuttall (Developments) Limited - Company number 10388280
This Tax Strategy applies to every company within the Group listed above in accordance with paragraph 16 of Schedule 19 of the Finance Act 2016. The Strategy has been published and is freely available from wwwbowkertransport.co.uk in accordance with paragraph 16(4). The Company regards publication of the Strategy as fulfilling its obligation under paragraph 16(2) for the year ended 31 December 2022. The Company will publish an updated Tax Strategy annually.
The WH Bowker Group has a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility. An important and essential feature of this is the professional management of tax compliance, and the fulfilment of all its tax and customs responsibilities throughout all its locations. This is a consistent approach adopted throughout the Group and complies with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recommendations of business conduct. The Group remains compliant with UK legislation and does not engage in any form of aggressive tax planning.
The Board is responsible for setting and monitoring the Tax Strategy. The Group’s Tax Strategy is to be fully compliant with tax laws, rules and regulations and in dealing with HMRC the Group aim to be open and transparent, fair and honest on matters of tax compliance, file required information in a timely manner, comply with all regulatory requirements and ensure that all taxes due in respect of its business activities are duly paid. References to tax include all direct and indirect UK taxes including corporation tax, VAT, employment taxes, stamp duty and land taxes.
In particular the Group strategy highlights the following topics:
Risk Management and Governance
Tax risk is managed with diligent care and judgement of the professionals involved. WH Bowker Group utilise the knowledge of its in-house finance team of qualified chartered accountants and where applicable seek clarification and advice from its professional taxation advisers.
The Group manages the tax risk by ensuring that only suitably experienced staff are responsible for tax matters. Internal controls are reviewed regularly, and checks are performed monthly to ensure tax liabilities are correctly recorded. Staff attend taxation update courses with third party professional advisers to ensure that the Group are up to date with changes in taxation law and regulations.
The Group involves third party professional advisers in the submission of corporate tax returns and review of its systems, processes and controls.
The Board, responsible for approving the Group Tax Strategy, has delegated responsibility for Tax Strategy to the Group CFO who will be the Group’s Senior Accounting Officer.
The finance teams of the Group’s companies, overseen by the Group’s Senior Accounting Officer are accountable to the Board for the implementation of the Tax Strategy and management of tax risk.
The approach of WH Bowker Group towards its dealings with HMRC
In dealing with HMRC the Group aim to be
• open and transparent, fair and honest on matters of tax compliance by responding promptly to queries and providing such information as HMRC may require in order to discharge its duties under the law.
• file required information in a timely manner.
• comply with all regulatory requirements.
• foster a relationship of mutual trust and cooperation. Tax Risk
WH Bowker Group seeks to minimise risk in relation to UK taxation, and aims for certainty on the tax position it adopts. In dealing with tax risk the Group applies diligence and care in the management of risks associated with tax matters and ensures governance procedures are appropriate.
Where the tax treatment of an item is not certain, a detailed risk assessment including quantification wherever possible will be undertaken in order to agree the appropriate course of action and / or clarification. Where necessary advice is also sought from 3rd party taxation advisers to quantify and to mitigate this risk.
The commercial needs of the WH Bowker Group take precedence over tax planning possibilities, and any and all tax planning will be undertaken in this context. Notwithstanding this, in no circumstances will the commercial needs override tax legislation. Full consideration will be given to WH Bowker Group’s reputation, brand, corporate and social responsibilities and the third-party brands it represents.
The Group aims for certainty on arrangements it adopts. However, where tax law is unclear or subject to interpretation written advice is sought externally including discussing the matter with HMRC to seek clearance from HMRC where appropriate, in order to ensure that the position taken is more likely than not to be settled in WH Bowker Group’s favour should it be challenged by HMRC.
Dated: 25th September 2023