Azets is an international business services group supporting entrepreneurial businesses and their owners and managers. The Group provides accountancy, audit, advisory and business processing outsourcing operations and has operations in the UK, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Romania and Estonia.
The Group was formed in 2016 from the acquisition of three established businesses in the UK and Nordics. Since then, the Group has completed a series of acquisitions.
This tax strategy relates to the following subgroups of the Azets Topco Group:
- Azets Holdings Limited
- Azets Audit Services Limited
- Cogidocs Holdings Limited
- Blick Rothenberg Limited; and
- Blick Rothenberg Holdco Limited
There is no ultimate UK incorporated parent company of the Group as Azets Topco Limited is incorporated in Jersey, although it is tax resident in the UK. As there is no UK incorporated parent company, this strategy will be published by Azets on behalf of the group entities that are tax resident in the UK; published by Blick Rothenberg Limited on behalf of itself, its subsidiaries and its sister entity Blick Rothenberg Holdco Limited; by Azets Holdings Limited on behalf of itself, its subsidiaries and its sister entity Azets Audit Services Limited; and Cogidocs Holdings Limited on behalf of its subsidiary Azets Document Solutions Limited.
Azets values are important to our culture and our relationship with our people and our clients. Azets values are:
- Collaborative – We are stronger together. We share knowledge, ask for help and empower each other to achieve more collectively
- Authentic – We constantly ask ourselves what is the right thing to do for our people, our clients and our business, acting with integrity at all times.
- Respectful – We are open minded and value everyone’s contribution, embracing our differences and fostering a culture of trust and inclusion.
- Dynamic – We adapt quickly to change, finding smart ways to deliver the best results and remain one step ahead.
Approach to tax risk management and governance
Azets has a strong sense of corporate and social responsibility, and this extends to complying with UK and International tax obligations and operating with strong corporate governance.
As a business advisory firm, our reputation is critically important to us and our clients and we are committed to complying not just with the letter, but with the spirit of the tax law when it comes to advising our clients as well as meeting our own tax obligations.
Azets is liable to account for a broad range of UK taxes including corporation tax, VAT, PAYE, National Insurance Contributions, Insurance Premium Tax, Business Rates, the Apprenticeship Levy and Stamp Duty Land Tax.
Azets is committed to compliance with UK tax law, regulation and disclosure requirements by:
- Paying the right amount of UK tax at the right time,
- Filing complete and accurate returns on a timely basis,
- Seeking to utilise available tax reliefs and incentives where available in a manner which is consistent with the UK Government’s policy objectives,
- Consulting with qualified staff members in their areas of expertise, such as VAT, employment and corporate taxes if an area of uncertainty arises, and
- Seeking advice from external advisors to provide additional expertise where appropriate.
Partners are employees (and not self-employed partners). Contractors tax treatment is assessed on an individual basis to confirm their employment status.
Overall responsibility for the Azets tax strategy rests with the Board of Directors of Azets Topco Limited. This strategy was approved by the Board and prepared by management in consultation with the Group’s tax advisors. The Board agrees to review the strategy annually to ensure it remains accurate and relevant.
Day to day management of each UK sub-group’s tax affairs is undertaken by the finance team within each of the sub-groups, who then report on tax matters to the Group Head of Accounting & Tax. The finance teams and the Group Head of Accounting &Tax work together with the qualified tax teams in the business to ensure compliance with UK law and regulation. External advisors are appointed as required.
To ensure that the finance teams are able to identify areas of tax risk or sensitivity, they are kept updated of changes in tax legislation by ongoing communication with the Group Head of Accounting & Tax and the tax technical staff.
If deficiencies in tax reporting or compliance are identified by the finance team, these areas are discussed with the Group Head of Accounting & Tax and the senior in-house qualified tax professionals and escalated as appropriate to management and the Board, and the matter addressed without delay.
Attitude towards tax planning
When considering business planning opportunities for Azets or for our clients, our focus is on sound commercial principals and understanding the underlying economic objectives and substance.
All in-house tax staff follow the principles and standards of behavior set out in the Professional Conduct in Relation to Taxation (PCRT) published by the Chartered Institute of Taxation.
Transactions between companies within the Group are undertaken on an arm’s length basis and arm’s length transfer pricing is adopted. Appropriate documentation is in place which supports the transfer price used and is compliant with UK and OECD transfer pricing policies.
Azets has grown by acquisition, an appropriate level of tax due diligence is undertaken for each transaction, not just on the target’s compliance with their own tax obligations, but also the quality and robustness of advice provided to clients. Where any deficiencies are identified through the due diligence these transactions will either not proceed or proceed with remedial action being taken thereafter.
Level of tax risk accepted
Azets takes a responsible approach to managing its UK tax affairs and seeks to comply with all statutory obligations. The scale and complexity of the Group’s business and the volume of its tax obligations, means that inevitably risks will arise. Where risks are identified by the finance teams they are evaluated with assistance from in-house qualified staff or with external professional advisors and managed proactively.
If for a certain transaction there is considered to be a material level of uncertainty or complexity, the Group will seek external advice to help reduce risk.
Azets approach to tax risks follows the same principles that apply to other business risks and includes consideration of reputational and other non-financial risks.
Relationship with HMRC
Azets promote an open and collaborative relationship with HMRC in relation to our own and our client’s tax affairs.
Where possible Azets engage proactively with HMRC and is committed to principles of openness and transparency when dealing with HMRC. If the Group is unclear on how tax law should be applied, it may engage with HMRC in advance of undertaking transactions to confirm the correct application of tax law.
Where queries are raised by HMRC, Azets will respond promptly and provide full and accurate answers in the interest of resolving any queries swiftly without recourse to litigation.
The publication of this tax strategy statement is regarded as satisfying the statutory obligation under Paragraph 19(2), Schedule 19 of the Finance Act 2016, for the UK companies and UK Permanent Establishments of the Azets Topco Limited group (referred to as “Azets”). This tax strategy applies to the financial year ending 30 June 2023 and describes the approach to the management of the Azets group UK tax affairs.
This strategy is published by Azets Topco Limited as the parent company of the Group. The strategy is also published by Blick Rothenberg Limited; Azets Holdings Limited and Cogidocs Holdings Limited as the UK parent companies of their respective sub-groups.
Date of publication: July 2023