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FTSE 100 becoming more transparent on tax, claims PwC

BUSINESSES in the FTSE 100 are becoming increasingly transparent over their tax structures, according to research from PwC.

Analysis of annual reports, corporate websites, and other social responsibility reports, reveals a steady increase in tax transparency across big business, the Big Four firm claims.

In 2012 just 32 firms in the FTSE 100 provided information on issues such as their attitude to tax planning and relationships with tax authorities. The number jumped to 49 in 2013, and has now risen to 56, based on the most recent 2014 data.

The report shows that there’s no set approach to what’s disclosed and how it’s done. However, there’s been an increased focus on tax risks, such as whether tax strategy is reviewed at board level. Fifty firms now set out their tax risk and governance procedures, 13 more than the previous year. It’s also become more common for companies to quantify all the taxes they bear and generate – the total tax contribution – which is now published by 40 firms, up 16 on 2013.

The findings jar sharply with findings from Big Four rival EY, which last month published a report suggesting many businesses lack the systems or resources to meet new global tax disclosure and transparency requirements.

PwC tax partner Andrew Packman said: “Corporates recognise that people want to know where the company stands on tax. Already this year two tax questionnaires have been sent to the FTSE 100, one from an investor, the other from an NGO. The interest in tax is undeniable and it’s helpful to be able to point interested parties to existing public disclosures.”

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