Global Tax Strategy
As an innovator in reagents and tools, Abcam’s purpose is to serve life science researchers globally to achieve their mission, faster. Providing the research and clinical communities with tools and scientific support, the Group offers highly validated binders and assays to address important targets in critical biological pathways.
The Group aims to generate sustainable sales and earnings growth and improved returns to shareholders through three strategic objectives which are set out in the Group’s annual report and accounts. The Group’s tax strategy seeks to support these wider commercial objectives.
This tax strategy has received Board approval. The Board sets the level of tax risk appetite to align to the Group’s wider commercial objectives and code of conduct and has stipulated a low risk approach to managing the Group’s tax affairs. The Group is committed to complying with all relevant tax laws in a responsible and ethical manner and to having open and constructive relationships with local tax authorities in the countries in which it operates.
The Group’s Chief Financial Officer is the designated Senior Accounting Officer (“SAO”) and takes ultimate responsibility for the Group’s global tax affairs. An in-house specialist tax team manages global tax matters and any associated tax risks from an operational perspective and comprises qualified specialists who undergo regular training and technical updates to ensure tax risks can be appropriately identified and managed such that the Group’s tax compliance obligations are met.
To manage its SAO obligations, Abcam has developed a robust framework which has been reviewed by a third party specialist to verify a best practice approach. This SAO framework feeds into the internal control framework to ensure all UK and overseas tax obligations are met and any risks are identified and managed. Supporting documents, policies, responsibility matrices and procedures are in place to support and manage tax risks in line with the low tax risk appetite.
Outside of the tax team and where relevant, a combination of internal tax training and, in particular in specialist areas, external training is extended across the business. These initiatives have raised awareness of tax throughout the business and help extend Abcam’s tax risk management framework beyond key stakeholders.
Abcam works closely with its global tax advisers where external support is required in the tax risk management process.
Abcam seeks to act in a tax efficient manner to ensure sustainable and maximum returns for shareholders.
The Group strives to pay the right amount of tax in the right jurisdictions at the right time. This involves disclosing all relevant facts and circumstances to the tax authorities and claiming reliefs and incentives where available such as UK Research & Development Expenditure Credits. As an ethical business, the Group does not participate in complex, aggressive or uncertain tax planning initiatives.
Global tax liabilities reflect genuine economic and commercial activity with a solid transfer pricing framework in place. Any business structuring is based on clear commercial objectives.
Abcam’s tax risks
Abcam’s tax risks are identified, evaluated, managed and monitored on a case by case basis to ensure they remain in line with the Group’s overall low risk tax appetite.
Abcam is a fast growing, multi-national, UK headed business with an acquisitive history and globally mobile staff. The Group acknowledges that global tax legislation is vast, in a significant state of flux and subject to interpretation. These factors create an element of inherent tax risk and uncertainty which is unavoidable.
The business ensures that a member of the tax team is involved in commercial initiatives to ensure that any tax implications are addressed and are compliant with relevant legislation. Where there is significant uncertainty or complexity in relation to an identified risk, external advice is sought from professional tax advisors.
The Board is kept updated on the relevant legislation changes.
Abcam works collaboratively and openly with local tax authorities around the globe. This includes a proactive application for participation in the newly formed Growth Support Service at HMRC whereby Abcam now has a dedicated HMRC contact. The Group engages proactively with HMRC on a regular basis to resolve any uncertain tax matters.
The publication of this strategy statement is regarded as satisfying the statutory obligation under Para 16(2), Schedule 19, Finance Act 2016 for all the companies in the Abcam group and has been shared with HMRC. This statement is reviewed annually and updated where necessary.