Wolseley UK Group Tax Strategy – Financial Year 2023
Our Tax Strategy is to maintain the highest standards of tax compliance. We support the execution of the Wolseley Group strategy by managing our tax affairs in full compliance with local law and international guidelines, while seeking to maximise shareholder value and serving the interests of all our stakeholders.
Overview of our business and code of conduct
Wolseley Group is one of the UK’s leading plumbing, heating and cooling trade specialist merchants serving professionals in repair, maintenance, improvement and construction markets through a number of trading brands including Wolseley, William Wilson, Burdens, MPS Civils, Fusion Utilities, Utility Power Systems, Utility Fibre Systems, MCA-Fusion Hire and Repair, Continental Product Engineering, Jointing Tech, Bassetts, Ideal Bathrooms and Neville Lumb.
From our support offices in Warwick and Ripon, to our supply chain and distribution network in strategic locations across the UK and over 600 specialist branches up and down the country, our people work together to give our customers great service every day. We aim to be the first choice for trade customers across the country.
In addition to corporate income taxes, our tax contributions include employment taxes, social security, VAT, taxes on ownership and use of property, customs and excise duties and environmental taxes. Our wider contribution to the economic activity includes capital investment, job creation, sourcing from local suppliers and development of skills in the workforce.
Our Code of Conduct sets the standard for what is expected of everyone conducting business on behalf of Wolseley Group. It is essential that we maintain our reputation for integrity and that everyone should act honestly, fairly and with transparency. Wolseley Group respects the rule of law and requires everyone to conduct its business in a way that ensures compliance with the rules that apply to Wolseley Group and all our businesses. This Tax Strategy follows these principles.
This Strategy applies to Wolseley Jersey Ltd and all subsidiary entities and complies with the UK legislative requirements in paragraph 16(2), Schedule 19 Finance Act 2016.1
Approach to tax risk management and governance
We are committed to maintaining the highest standards of corporate governance, transparency and responsibility and, as such, we have implemented several processes to manage tax risk and governance.
- Responsibility and accountability for the Tax Strategy ultimately lies with the Chief Financial Officer and is overseen by the Board and Audit Committee
- We employ appropriately qualified professionals who identify, evaluate and monitor tax risks, and seek professional advice, where required, to meet our tax obligations
- A tax compliance register ensures all filings and payments are made on time to tax authorities and new tax registrations are made as required
- We operate a formal risk management process, in which business risks and their mitigation are formally assessed and reported to the Board and Audit Committee every six months. Financial metrics and qualitative guidance are used to determine common risk thresholds and acceptable levels of risk
- In determining which risks need to be addressed and what actions should be taken to manage those risks, materiality of the amounts and obligations will be taken into account
- Tax Strategy and processes are monitored through internal tax controls and tested by internal audit.
Attitude towards tax planning
Wolseley Group considers all relevant aspects and costs, including tax, in execution of the Group strategy. We manage and report our tax affairs in accordance with international best practice guidelines such as International Accounting Standards and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (‘OECD’) Guidelines. Our tax activities are governed by commercial purpose and simplicity and always to follow the Wolseley Group strategy, while being underpinned by the following principles.
- All transactions are driven by their commercial rationale rather than being shaped only to deliver a tax advantaged result
- We do not undertake aggressive tax planning and are committed to ensuring that tax reflects the underlying economic substance of the transactions the business enters into
- Tax is inherently complex and often uncertain. Where there is uncertainty relating to the interpretation of the tax law, we employ professional judgement to determine how to manage those risks. This includes documenting any legal interpretations and seeking external advice from accounting and law firms to support the robustness of the filing tax position
- Tax evasion and/or the facilitation of tax evasion by any person acting on the Group’s behalf is strictly prohibited, and internal controls and training enforce this policy across the Group.
Level of tax risk Wolseley Group is prepared to accept
Wolseley Group has a low appetite and tolerance for tax risk and proactively engages with advisors to achieve certainty on our tax position. Wolseley Group acts in accordance with current tax legislation so that it pays the right amount of tax when it falls due.
Approach towards dealing with tax authorities
Our approach is to deal with tax authorities in a professional, open, and courteous manner. We strive to develop and maintain positive and transparent working relationships with tax authorities. This includes working collaboratively to achieve certainty of our tax position, including obtaining pre-transaction clearances where appropriate, and resolving open enquires and disputes proactively and promptly.