The Ascott Limited (the “Company”, “we” or “our”) is one of the leading international lodging owner-operators. With more than 30 years of industry track record and award-winning brands, the Company has more than 95,000 units in operation and under development in over 640 properties. The Company is one of the core strategic business units of CapitaLand Limited (“CapitaLand”), which is one of Asia’s largest real estate companies that is headquartered and listed in Singapore.
The Ascott Limited has invested in the UK and operates here through a number of recognised brands including Citadines. This webpage describes our UK Tax Strategy and is applicable to all our UK incorporated and tax resident companies.
Tax governance and risk management
We aspire to the highest standards of corporate governance and are committed to regularly improving our corporate governance practices. This approach provides the foundation for our UK Tax Strategy. Overall responsibility for the management of risk (including tax risk) lies with the CapitaLand Board, which ensures that management maintains a sound system of risk management and internal controls. As part of CapitaLand’s Enterprise Risk Management (“ERM”) Framework, Ascott’s UK team performs a risk and control self-assessment annually to identify, assess and manage material risks, which may include tax risk; and reports any regulatory non-compliance quarterly to Ascott’s Head Office. Any material risks and non-compliance will be reviewed by CapitaLand’s Risk Committee and, where appropriate, the Audit Committee, and be reported to the Board.
Commitment to compliance
We are committed to meeting our UK tax compliance obligations and ensuring that any transactions between our related entities are undertaken in accordance with UK transfer pricing rules. UK tax compliance is delivered through a combination of in-house staff and outsourced tax compliance service providers. Through training and our commitment to developing high performing people, we look to manage the risk associated with compliance activities that are performed in-house. Our outsourced tax compliance service providers are all from reputable firms and are experts in the services provided.
The Head of Finance and the Financial Controller of our UK companies maintain close oversight of the day-to-day UK tax compliance activities, reviewing and approving all tax reporting, returns and payments; and report regularly to the Vice President of Finance for Europe. CapitaLand’s Group Tax team in Singapore also provides strategic support and guidance, and oversees group-wide compliance obligations such as country-by-country reporting and common reporting standard.
It is our mission to deliver sustainable shareholder returns in a responsible manner. As part of our appraisal of UK investments, we seek to understand the tax consequences of the investment, the operational returns and any subsequent disposal. Whilst different investment structures will have different UK tax consequences, our focus is on responsible tax efficiency. The UK investment structures we adopt are well understood and common in the industry. Both Ascott’s UK and Head Office Finance teams and CapitaLand’s Group Tax team are involved in the investment appraisal process, guided by the tax advice that we obtain from reputable professional UK tax advisors.
Tax risk appetite
With support from reputable professional UK tax advisors, we seek to manage risk in our tax planning and compliance activities within CapitaLand’s Group Risk Appetite Statement. Where tax law is complex or requires interpretation, we will engage HM Revenue & Customs (“HMRC”) to seek clarifications where appropriate, and will also engage in constructive discussion with HMRC to resolve any differences.
Relationship with HMRC
Our relationship with HMRC is established in line with our core values of mutual trust and respect. We have a transparent and collaborative relationship and a strong track record of compliance.
This tax strategy has been approved by Ascott’s Vice President of Finance - Europe, Ascott’s Head, Finance - Corporate and CapitaLand’s Group Tax team. Our publication of this tax strategy is for the purposes of complying with Part 2 of Schedule 19 of the 2016 Finance Act for the period ended 31 December 2018.