Tax Transparency Benchmark 2019

For the fifth consecutive year, we assisted the Dutch Association of Investors for Sustainable Development (VBDO) with the Tax Transparency Benchmark. On this website we present the results of this lustrum edition, in which 77 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 2019 is NN Group. The company was able to demonstrate that it proactively seeks to act in a responsible and transparent way regarding its taxation. The jury complimented NN Group on its extensive tax strategy, which includes a Tax Control Framework containing a detailed description of how the implementation and execution of the tax strategy is monitored, as well as a description on why tax is an integral part of its business principles. NN Group also provided a risk analysis and key control objectives. Finally, NN Group published a total tax contribution report which features country-by-country data and further information on FTEs, total assets, result before tax and taxation. There were no controversies found by the jury regarding the tax behaviour of NN Group. In summary, NN Group transparently reports on all good tax principles as identified by VBDO and Oikos.

Source: Tax Transparency Benchmark 2019 as published by VBDO.

 

Ranking Company name Score 2019 Score 2018

1

NN Group

30

21

2

Wessanen

28

21

3-9

DSM

26

21

3-9

ING Group

26

20

3-9

KPN

26

20

3-9

Rabobank

26

19

3-9

RELX Group

26

19

3-9

Unilever

26

23

3-9

Vopak

26

20

10

a.s.r.

25

18

11-13

Aegon

24

23

11-13

AMG

24

23

11-13

Randstad

24

13

14-16

PostNL

23

17

14-16

Shell

23

17

14-16

Van Lanschot Kempen

23

22

17-19

Ahold Delhaize

22

18

17-19

Eurocommercial Properties

22

2

17-19

Heineken

22

17

20

VolkerWessels

21

4

21-25

ABN AMRO

20

16

21-25

Grandvision

20

17

21-25

Kendrion

20

16

21-25

Ordina

20

17

21-25

Vastned

20

20

26-28

Intertrust

19

2

26-28

Nedap

19

19

26-28

Signify

19

14

29-31

Arcadis

18

16

29-31

Fugro

18

16

29-31

BAM Group

18

15

32-37

Brunel

17

16

32-37

Flow Traders

17

15

32-37

ForFarmers

17

9

32-37

TKH Group

17

14

32-37

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield

17

14

32-37

Wereldhave

17

16

38-42

Aperam

16

11

38-42

ASML

16

16

38-42

BinckBank

16

16

38-42

Heijmans

16

9

38-42

Boskalis

16

13

43-46

Achmea

15

13

43-46

NIBC

15

-

43-46

Philips

15

13

43-46

Wolters Kluwer

15

15

47

Basic-Fit

14

4

48-49

Aalberts

13

12

48-49

Corbion

13

10

50-52

AkzoNobel

12

8

50-52

IMCD

12

14

50-52

TomTom

12

11

53

Takeaway.com

11

12

54-58

Air France-KLM

9

5

54-58

ArcelorMittal

9

8

54-58

ASM International

9

9

54-58

SBM Offshore

9

9

54-58

Sligro

9

9

59-60

Amsterdam Commodities

8

5

59-60

BE Semiconductor Industries

8

7

61-63

Adyen

7

-

61-63

B&S

7

-

61-63

KAS BANK

7

9

64-67

Altice

6

7

64-67

Lucas Bols

6

4

64-67

NSI

6

6

64-67

Pharming Group

6

3

68-70

Accell Group

5

5

68-70

Kiadis Pharma

5

4

68-70

Sif Holding

5

5

71-72

OCI

4

5

71-72

WDP

4

2

73

Fagron

3

1

74-76

Alfen

1

-

74-76

Galapagos

1

2

74-76

ICT Group

1

2

77

Accsys Technologies

0

-

"In 2019, many companies are still not in sync with their public images. After the financial crisis and revelations of shady tax hideouts, less than 40% of Dutch citizens find large corporations trustworthy. I wish to reiterate Paul Polman’s point in the introduction, namely that taxation ensures society can function. When citizens feel that this burden is not shared equally, trust diminishes. Thus, 2019 marked a year of turmoil for Dutch companies regarding their taxation. Three large companies appeared before a parliamentary committee to explain their tax payments (or the lack thereof) to the Dutch Government. We see that public and political scrutiny of companies’ financial moral is increasing. Companies with tax operations that are not aligned with their Environmental Social Governance (ESG) see themselves ‘on the back foot’ in the press and social media. For example, not paying tax in a country due to artificial structuring followed by (deductible) donations for charity in that same country leads to public scorn. Politicians will then have to respond. If they don’t, citizens may feel that they lack the power to hold global corporations accountable and lose trust. If they do, it depends on the quality of the political response (laws and regulations) whether society is indeed served in the long term with a sustainable tax infrastructure. We all have a responsibility in the field of sustainable tax.

It is our conviction that transparency can fix this issue. This is why we have put so much effort into carrying out this research for five years now, and with success. We have seen company scores improving. In our first benchmark published in 2015, companies averaged 25% on our six Good Tax Governance Principles. In 2019, benchmarked against a more stringent methodology, companies average 43%. What’s more, leading companies in our benchmark have never achieved such a high score before. The top 10 companies now achieve, on average, 76%. In 2015, the 10 best performing companies attained 54% on average. Some companies now also publish country-by-country reports that show where they pay taxes and where they add value to their company. The financial sector is leading in this regard, and we hope to see advancements in other sectors soon.

VBDO exists to make the capital markets more sustainable. We encourage our members and investors in particular, to take note of this study and we will continue to guide them in their engagement activities and investment decisions.

I am extremely grateful to Paul Polman (Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce and The B Team, founder of IMAGINE, and Former CEO of Unilever), Professor Jeffrey Owens (Director of the WU Global Tax Policy Center at the Institute for Austrian and International Tax Law, WU (Vienna University of Economics and Business), and Bastian Buck (Chief of Standards, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) for their visionary, inspirational and powerful contributions to this lustrum report. I also wish to thank PwC Netherlands for their guidance and successful collaboration on this research. Last but not least, I would like to thank the participating companies for their valuable contributions.

I look forward to furthering the dialogue on tax transparency."

 

Angélique Laskewitz,
Executive Director VBDO

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Eelco van der Enden

Eelco van der Enden

Partner, PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)88 792 51 38

Bob van der Made

Bob van der Made

Project Manager, Senior Adviser EU-Brussels (TAX), PwC Netherlands

Tel: +31 (0)88 792 36 96

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