The Opel Vauxhall Finance ("OVF") sub-group, headed by Opel Bank S.A., provides commercial and consumer auto finance and related products. In the UK this activity is performed by Vauxhall Finance plc ("VF plc" or "the Company"). On 1 November 2017 Opel Bank S.A. was (indirectly) acquired jointly by Peugeot SA and BNP Paribas SA. The VF plc results are consolidated into BNP Paribas SA.
In the UK, we pay corporate taxes, stamp duties, employment and other taxes and levies, including the Apprenticeship Levy and Bank Levy (the latter via BNP Paribas's UK responsible entity). In addition, we collect and pay employee taxes as well as indirect taxes such as excise duties and VAT. The taxes we pay and collect form a significant part of our economic contribution to the UK economy.
VF plc is committed to complying with tax laws in a responsible manner and to conducting an open and constructive relationship with HM Revenue & Customs ("HMRC").
The Company's UK tax strategy reflects its business practices and ethos and, as part of the UK arm of the BNP Paribas SA banking group, VF plc is within the scope of the Code of Practice on Taxation for Banks as regards UK taxation. VF plc is aligned with the Code of Practice and the underlying principles and behaviours regarding UK taxation, as demonstrated in the arrangements described below:
Approach to risk management and governance arrangements
The VF plc UK tax team has many years' experience in UK and international direct and indirect taxation and is responsible for much of the Company's UK taxation compliance activities. The OVF Head of Tax reports into both the OVF leadership team and Tax counterparts from its shareholder owners, to ensure alignment with the wider groups' and owners' operational and risk and control frameworks. Our internal processes and controls support the tax compliance and transactional tax obligations of the business providing our Board and Senior Accounting Officer with a robust framework for calculation and payment of taxes due.
The Board and/or Senior Accounting Officer/Finance Director are involved in review processes and are also engaged in approving transactional details including any tax related aspects. The tax teams therefore remain accountable to the wider business, with each frequently exchanging updates relating to business and tax developments. Equally, the OVF governance framework ensures that Tax Staff is involved in assessing tax implications and risks of new products, restructuring and reorganisation activities.
The UK Tax staff is responsible for ensuring that policies and procedures that support the UK Tax Strategy are in place, maintained and applied consistently and that the UK Tax team has the skills and experience to implement the Tax Strategy appropriately.
Attitude to Tax planning
As is commonplace, VF plc arranges its tax affairs in an efficient manner supporting the business and reflecting commercial and economic activity, ensuring the correct amount of taxation is levied.
We adhere to relevant tax law and seek external advice when in-house Tax staff needs assistance with interpretation of complex tax law. VF plc is committed to complying with the Code of Practice on Taxation for Banks and recognises the requirement to follow the spirit as well as the letter of the law and accordingly the Company's attitude to tax planning is aligned with that of our ultimate shareholder.
VF plc conducts transactions with other OVF and connected party companies on an arm's length basis and in accordance with current principles recommended by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
In keeping with our corporate philosophy, we remain faithful to our responsibilities as a UK taxpayer and will continue to engage with HMRC to pay our fair share of taxation.
Attitude to tax risk
We recognise that Tax can be a complex area and tax risk may arise periodically. External advice is sought where required on matters of uncertainty and/or complexity and we seek to actively identify, evaluate and manage all tax risks to ensure that they are fully understood technically and financially and fall within acceptable parameters within OVF's internal control framework and the BNP Paribas Permanent Control Framework, which the OVF group has adopted. Tax returns are prepared to the highest professional standards and subject to internal checks prior to submission.
Working with HMRC
We seek to build and sustain a relationship with HMRC that is constructive and based on mutual respect. We work collaboratively wherever possible with HMRC to resolve disputes and to achieve early agreement and certainty.
We also engage with the government on the development of tax laws either directly or through industry and other representative bodies as appropriate to encourage an open, constructive tax legislature framework.
This Tax Strategy was first published in 2017. We review, update and publish it annually in accordance with our obligations under paragraph 23(4), Schedule 19, Finance Act 2016. This document was approved for publication by the VF plc Board on 18 December 2019 in relation to the 2019 Financial Year and the Company regards its publication on this website as complying with the duty under paragraph 22(2) of that Act.