At UOB, we are committed to strong corporate governance values and practices and have a low tolerance approach towards tax risk.
We are committed to complying with applicable tax laws and regulations across the countries and territories in which we operate. This statement complies with the requirements under the United Kingdom’s Finance Act 2016, paragraph 19(2).
The Group Chief Financial Officer is responsible for oversight of tax responsibilities, with support from the Head of Group Tax.
UOB takes a low tolerance approach towards tax risk. Tax risk is managed through the Tax Risk Management and Governance Framework which is based on the following principles:
Employ experienced and qualified in-house tax professionals
Seek professional advice from third party advisers and consult with tax authorities on transactions with significant tax uncertainty
Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) refers to tax planning strategies that exploit gaps and mismatches in tax rules to artificially shift profits to low or no-tax locations. Singapore is part of the BEPS Project, led by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), to tackle BEPS issues across countries and jurisdictions in a coordinated and comprehensive manner.
UOB supports the BEPS principle that profits should be taxed where substantive economic activities generating the profits are performed and where value is created. UOB has adopted the internationally-agreed arm's length principle for the determination of prices for transactions between related parties.
To ensure that UOB remains compliant with tax laws and regulations, we consistently consider the potential tax implications before implementing business plans and also consult with third party advisers to supplement and confirm our understanding, as necessary.
Relationship with tax authorities
UOB aims to build constructive relationships with tax authorities in the jurisdictions in which we operate. We achieve this by:
This statement on UOB's approach to tax applies to the year ending 31 December 2023. It applies to UOB, London Branch and has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the United Kingdom's Finance Act 2016, paragraph 19(2) for a UK Subgroup.
UOB is committed to complying with applicable tax laws and regulations. We disclose all relevant facts and circumstances when filing our tax returns with the HM Revenue & Customs (“HMRC”). We take the preparation of tax returns very seriously. The tax returns are prepared by third party advisers, and then reviewed by senior UOB staff prior to finalisation and submission to HMRC.
The governance of our arrangements in relation to taxation is under the management of our tax team, who is under the management purview of the Group Chief Financial Officer. The tax team works closely with our UK finance team with respect to UK taxation. To ensure appropriate management of any tax risks identified, there are clear escalation procedures in place. The tax team and UK finance team receive regular updates from and attend events organised by third party advisers to keep abreast with the latest UK tax developments.
To the extent that there is significant uncertainty or complexity in our tax matters, we seek professional advice from third party advisers and consult with the HMRC.
To ensure UOB remains compliant with UK tax laws and regulations, we consistently consider the potential tax implications of business plans and transactions prior to implementation, consulting third party advisers to supplement and confirm our understanding, as necessary.
UOB has a strong compliance culture and a low tolerance towards tax risk. We file our tax returns accurately and in a timely manner and fulfil our tax obligations appropriately. Due to our low tolerance towards UK tax risks, we only undertake transactions which are grounded in commercial realities and consider tax implications before implementing our business plans.
UOB aims to have an open and transparent relationship with the HMRC. We engage HMRC on an ongoing basis to explain our business and discuss any relevant tax issues relating to our UK business.
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) was enacted by the United States (US) to target non-compliance with US tax laws by US Persons using non-US accounts. FATCA requires Foreign Financial Institutions (FFIs) outside the US to report on the assets held by their US account holders or be subject to withholding tax on certain payments. Many countries including Singapore, have entered into an Intergovernmental Agreement with the US to facilitate the FATCA obligations of FFIs.
The Common Reporting Standard (CRS) is an internationally agreed standard for the automatic exchange of financial account information between jurisdictions for tax purposes, to better combat tax evasion and ensure tax compliance. CRS requires financial institutions in participating jurisdictions to identify, to collect and to report to the authorities annually the tax residency and account information of customers from jurisdictions with which agreements to exchange information are in place.
UOB is committed to complying with the provisions of FATCA and CRS, and to ensuring that UOB Group complies with all applicable due diligence and reporting requirements in the jurisdictions in which we operate. Our FATCA and CRS governance frameworks are reviewed annually and approved by the Board Risk Management Committee. In addition to online learning, employees are kept informed of updates to the frameworks via email.