Our business strategy is to grow alongside our customers in the markets where we currently operate, to enter new products and packaging categories in selected markets and to expand geographically. We consider the management of taxes as an integral part of this strategy.
We understand that collecting and paying tax is an important contribution to the economies and societies in which our businesses operate.
Our tax strategy is approved by the Board and ensures that taxes (and tax risks) are managed to provide sustainable outcomes within the parameters of our strategic and commercial objectives, and that all tax obligations are complied with in all countries where we operate.
We have a tax risk management framework. This framework sets out the process for defining tax risk appetite, and for the monitoring, reporting and escalation of tax risks.
Our approach to taxes is on the one hand supportable to the business needs and the company’s strategy and on the other hand compliant with (case) law and regulations. The group’s commercial needs are paramount and thus ‘tax follows the business’. Where alternative routes exist to achieve the same commercial goals we will take the most tax efficient approach in the interest of all stakeholders, while remaining compliant with all relevant laws, regulations and international standards. Where tax laws do not give clear guidance, prudence and transparency shall be the guiding principles. We will act in line with the spirit of the tax law and will not operate on the edge of it. We do not use artificial structures, instruments or tax havens solely for tax avoidance.
Whilst applying the OECD guidelines on transfer pricing we report income in the countries where the value is created, applying the arm’s length principle.
Where possible we will create and maintain a relationship with local Tax Authorities and work closely together in an open and transparent dialogue, creating mutual understanding and trust. In The Netherlands we have entered into a Horizontal Monitoring relationship with the Dutch Tax Authorities, which is based upon proactively disclosing of uncertain tax positions, tax risks and transparency to obtain as much upfront certainty of our Dutch tax position as possible. This sets the example for how we want to work with tax authorities around the globe: we will act transparently by disclosing all relevant facts and circumstances and we aim to enhance clarity and upfront certainty of tax consequences.
We support the global initiative of the OECD to promote tax transparency and responsible tax management. We comply with disclosure requirements to the tax authorities and are transparent in reporting our tax position and approach to tax towards other stakeholders as well.
To summarize our approach towards taxation:
1) Tax follows the business:
a) Transactions must be driven by a business reason or commercial rationale.
b) Within the rules set by the law we take the most tax efficient approach.
c) Tax should not be an obstacle for the execution of the company’s strategy.
d) Income is reported where value is created.
e) We do not enter into artificial structures for tax avoidance.
2) Avoid uncertainty as much as possible
a) Comply with applicable laws, regulations and guidelines
b) Have an open and transparent relationship with the local tax authorities
c) Be transparent about our tax position towards our stakeholders.