LSL is one of the largest providers of services to mortgage intermediaries and franchised estate agencies and provides valuation services to many of the UK’s largest mortgage lenders. The Group operates exclusively in the UK through a range of national and regional brands.
The Group’s tax strategy, which is set out below, has been reviewed and approved by the Board of Directors on 27 July 2023. This strategy is reviewed and updated annually, following further approvals by the Board. The LSL tax strategy is outlined below, and outlines the Group’s attitude towards tax risk, tax planning and interactions with HMRC.
The publication of this Tax Strategy is required to satisfy the statutory obligation under Para 16(2) Schedule 19 Finance Act 2016 for the current financial year ended 31 December 2023.
The Group is committed to the delivery of the tax strategy and this is owned by the Group’s Chief Financial Officer, in conjunction with the finance team. This tax strategy applies to all taxes, and the key principles of the strategy are:
The Group’s greatest tax risk areas are identified by considering areas of high value taxation, new and unfamiliar transactions, or transactions with which there exists inherent tax complexity or uncertainty. Internal focus is directed to these higher risk areas, and external tax specialists are engaged to support LSL if additional resource or expertise is required. UK tax is a significant cost to the Group, and as a result is an area of focus for the Board and the Group’s internal audit function.
Tax is the ultimate responsibility of the Group’s Chief Financial Officer, who is also the Group’s Senior Accounting Officer. The LSL’s Group Finance function develops the Group’s tax strategy and underlying policies, and ensures that appropriate knowledge and training is in place across the Group. Within central finance function there is a Group Tax Manager who, along with the finance functions within the operating businesses, manages day to day taxation matters excluding payroll taxes. The calculation and deduction of payroll taxes (including benefits) is managed by the Human Resources department, although this process is controlled by policy and process documents which are managed centrally.
This Group seeks to arrange its affairs in such a way as to ensure that it maximises all available claims and reliefs under UK tax legislation and in the manner in which the legislation was intended. The Group will continue to have a strong focus on compliance with all applicable tax legislation.
Taxation risk is mitigated through internal procedure and the use of specialists where appropriate. Where there is uncertainty over a tax filing position, the Group will seek specialist external advice or liaise with HMRC on a real-time basis around the transactions to discuss the appropriate tax treatment. Further to seeking specialist advice, there may still exist inherent risk and uncertainty with regards to a specific filing position. When assessing the level of any remaining risk the Group will seek to take a balanced and cautious approach taking additional third party advice as appropriate.
The Group is committed to working collaboratively with HMRC, through open and transparent dialogue to ensure it is compliant with all of its compliance and filing obligations. The Group has a proactive working relationship with HMRC will continue to engage with HMRC on a real-time basis.