Tax Transparency Benchmark 2018

For the fourth consecutive year, we assisted the Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO) in conducting the Tax Transparency Benchmark. On this website we present the results of the 2018 edition, in which 76 Dutch companies are ranked on the level of transparency they provide on tax. The aim of the benchmark is to enhance the existing understanding of corporate tax responsibility and to inspire how to communicate comprehensively on tax matters in publicly available documentation.

The winner of the Tax Transparency Award 2018 is Aegon. This company is the top-scoring company in the benchmark and scored above average on all good tax governance principles as published by VBDO and Oikos in 2014. One of the complimented items was that Aegon partially published country-by-country information, such as information on FTE’s and earnings before income tax. Further, Aegon provides a detailed description of how the implementation and execution of the tax strategy is monitored.

Source: Tax Transparency Benchmark 2018 as published by VBDO.

Ranking Company name Listing Score
1-3 Aegon AEX 23
1-3 Unilever AEX 23
1-3 AMG AMX 23
4 Van Lanschot Kempen ASCX 22
5-7 Rabobank - 21
5-7 NN Group AEX 21
5-7 Wessanen ASCX 21
8-11 DSM AEX 20
8-11 ING Group B.V AEX 20
8-11 Vopak AEX 20
8-11 Vastned ASCX 20
12-14 KPN N.V. AEX 19
12-14 RelX Group AEX 19
12-14 Nedap ASCX 19
15-16 Ahold Delhaize AEX 18
15-16 ASR AEX 18
17-21 Heineken AEX 17
17-21 Shell AEX 17
17-21 Grandvision AMX 17
17-21 PostNL AMX 17
17-21 Ordina ASCX 17
22-29 ABN Amro AEX 16
22-29 ASML AEX 16
22-29 Arcadis AMX 16
22-29 Fugro AMX 16
22-29 Wereldhave AMX 16
22-29 Binckbank ASCX 16
22-29 Brunel ASCX 16
22-29 Kendrion ASCX 16
30-32 Wolter Kluwer AEX 15
30-32 Flow Traders AMX 15
30-32 Royal BAM Group nv AMX 15
33-36 Signify (former Philips Lightning) AEX 14
33-36 Unibail-Rodamco AEX 14
33-36 IMCD AMX 14
33-36 TKH Group AMX 14
37-40 Achmea - 13
37-40 Randstad NV AEX 13
37-40 Royal Philips AEX 13
37-40 Boskalis AMX 13
41-42 Aalberts Industries N.V. AEX 12
41-42 TakeAway AMX 12
43-45 Aperam AMX 11
43-45 TomTom AMX 11
43-45 Beter Bed ASCX 11
46 Corbion AMX 10
47-52 ASM international AMX 9
47-52 SBM Offshore AMX 9
47-52 Sligro AMX 9
47-52 For Farmers ASCX 9
47-52 Heijmans ASCX 9
47-52 Kas Bank ASCX 9
53-54 Akzo Nobel AEX 8
53-54 ArcelorMittal AEX 8
55-56 Altice AEX 7
55-56 BE Semiconductor Industries N.V. AMX 7
57 NSI N.V. ASCX 6
58-62 Air France KLM AMX 5
58-62 OCI N.V. AMX 5
58-62 Accell Group ASCX 5
58-62 Amsterdam Commodities ASCX 5
58-62

Sif Holding N.V.

ASCX 5
63-67 Gemalto AEX 4
63-67 Basic-Fit ASCX 4
63-67 Kiadis Pharma N.V. ASCX 4
63-67 Koninklijke VolkerWessels NV ASCX 4
63-67 Lucas Bols ASCX 4
68-69 Avantium ASCX 3
68-69 Pharming Group ASCX 3
70-75 Galapagos AEX 2
70-75 Eurocommercial AMX 2
70-75 Intertrust AMX 2
70-75 WDP AMX 2
70-75 Hunter Douglas ASCX 2
70-75 ICT Group ASCX 2
76 Fagron ASCX 1

"In recent years, various leaks and papers disclosed shady taxation hideouts and unexplainable agreements with governments. Today, the debate in Dutch national politics on the abolition of a tax on dividends has everyone weighing in. But, tax is not only a public relations issue for companies to deal with. It is first and foremost a social development issue. Paying a sustainable tax rate ensures companies adequately compensate for services that are delivered by society. Therefore, it is imperative companies view taxation as an integral part of their corporate social responsibility. Without sustainable taxation, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are out of reach.

Over the 5 years we engage on this topic, VBDO is pleased to acknowledge the state of corporate tax transparency has improved. Starting in 2013, when we asked questions at Annual General Meetings, only a few companies referred to responsible taxation. At present, most companies communicate their policy on tax. It can be mentioned that many companies start to understand that taxation ensures fair competitive environments, equitable distribution of wealth and that externalities are compensated for. This Tax Transparency Benchmark measures and stimulates that understanding. Most of all, we hope that companies and stakeholders use this research to further sustainable taxation.

VBDO is proud to present the Tax Transparency Benchmark 2018 for the fourth consecutive year. The benchmark provides an overview of Dutch stock listed companies’ fiscal transparency. This year with an updated methodology, we have asked the companies to step up their game. Companies should now show they have aligned their tax strategy with their sustainability strategy. Public information should provide information on how companies implement and execute their tax strategy. Lastly, tax transparency should benefit from digital innovation. Gradually, companies are becoming more transparent. Nevertheless, important tax standards such as country-by-country reporting remain absent in public information. In general, the results show company scores converging. It is promising that laggards are catching up with leaders. While laggards improve, leaders in previous benchmarks score lower this year. I encourage all companies to regard the results as a new baseline that stimulates greater tax transparency. 

Angélique Laskewitz, Executive Director VBDO

VBDO works to make the capital markets more sustainable, we encourage our members and investors in particular, to take note of this study and guide them in their engagement activities and investment decision-making. I want to thank PwC Netherlands for their guidance and the successful collaboration on this research. Also, I would like to thank the participating companies for their valuable contributions. Finally, I would like to thank Paul Tang for sharing his views on the topic of tax transparency in the introduction. I look forward to further the dialogue on sustainable taxation."

Angélique Laskewitz,
Executive Director VBDO

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