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Few FTSE companies report on tax strategies

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ONE IN TEN of the UK’s top public companies report on tax strategies, despite a third explaining more about their wider contribution and impact on society, according to new research.

Deloitte found in its latest research that only 10% of the 100 company reports it reviewed included detailed information on tax governance in their strategic report. The latest annual analysis of FTSE company reports by the accountancy watchdog, the FRC, also found reports to be lacking in terms of information available on tax planning.

This newer narrative on corporate responsibility from FTSE companies is partly in response to new regulations but also in reaction to growing public interest in how companies operate, and in particular if and where they pay corporate taxes.

Deloitte also found that 72% used alternative performance measures instead of the required accounting standards and 63% in the study failed to provide clear reconciliations.

But companies are getting better at explaining how to find information about their corporate responsibility agendas. Around half of the 100 FTSE company reports reviewed by Deloitte included a cross reference to where further corporate responsibility information could be found outside the report. This compares to just 34% of companies reviewed that offered this information this last year.

A significant 71% of FTSE companies in the Deloitte survey now tell their “value creation” story, compared to 54% the previous year.

“Authenticity is what really puts clear blue water between one report and another,” according to the Deloitte study.

This year more companies focused on cyber threats, identifying it as a “principal risk to the business”.

“It is encouraging to see companies adopting the principles of integrated reporting in an effort to communicate better and highlight the impact they are having for stakeholder groups, beyond shareholders. The best reports are authentic: they don’t just tell a story, but explain how that company lives its story. Their integrated thinking shines through as a result,” said Veronica Poole, Deloitte’s UK head of corporate reporting.

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