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Waterstones tax strategy

This document sets out the strategic tax objectives of the Waterstones group and has been approved by the Board of Directors.

The overall objective of this Strategy is to ensure that Waterstones pays the correct amount of tax, at the right time, under all laws and regulations. Tax affairs will be conducted with the objective of maintaining a low tax risk assessment from HMRC.

Working with HMRC

Tax Objective

Engage with tax authorities in an open and transparent way, to minimise tax uncertainty.

Delivery of Objective

Adopt prudent and recognised filing positions, making full and detailed disclosures in submitted tax Returns. Take a proactive approach in the provision of information to HMRC and undertake real time reporting of any significant compliance issues or business transactions.


Managing Tax Risks

Tax Objective

Ensure compliance with all tax obligations.

Delivery of Objective

We aim to form strong tax technical positions where tax law is uncertain or subject to interpretation. In areas of complexity or uncertainty, we will seek external professional advice and ensure documentation to support the filing position is retained. This documentation will evidence the facts, conclusions and risks. Professional advice is also taken in respect on-going compliance matters, to ensure the robustness of processes around regular compliance tax reporting. All tax Returns will be filed on an accurate and timely basis and all taxes will be paid on time


Tax Objective

Waterstones Tax Function will proactively engage with other areas of the business to minimise exposure to tax risk or uncertainties arising through both routine business operations and one off transactions.

Delivery of Objective

As part of the wider finance team, the tax function is aware of general business strategy and developments. This ensures any tax considerations or issues are raised up-front rather than retrospectively. Proper documentation is retained to support the tax treatment adopted on any particular transaction and that tax analysis is based on the actual implementation. The importance of commercial needs should, in no circumstances, override compliance with applicable tax laws.


Tax Objective

Manage the group’s tax risk through a continual assessment of risk and the management of the same.

Delivery of Objective

A tax risk framework is in place, supported by documentation. In order to meet our regulatory and legal requirements, for both Senior Accounting Officer measures and Corporate Criminal Offences, tax risk areas have to be regularly assessed, monitored and controlled.


Tax Planning

Tax Objective

All significant tax decisions are agreed at an appropriate level within the business and made using principles of integrity and openness.

Delivery of Objective

The business prioritises certainty over its tax affairs. While tax efficiencies will be sought in its approach to tax compliance, it applies the over-riding principle of prudence and “low risk” to all tax matters.