Uncertain tax positions, judgements, disclosures, EU State Aid investigation of UK Controlled Foreign Company regime, Brexit

Imperial Brands PLC – Annual report =- 30 September 2017

Industry: tobacco



The Group is subject to income tax in numerous jurisdictions and significant judgement is required in determining the provision for tax. There are many transactions and calculations for which the ultimate tax determination is uncertain. The Group recognises provisions for tax based on estimates of the taxes that are likely to become due. Where the final tax outcome is different from the amounts that were initially recorded, such differences will impact the current income tax and deferred tax provisions in the period in which such determination is made. Further information on income taxes is given in notes 8 and 21 to these financial statements.

  1. TAX (extract)


As an international business the Group is exposed to uncertain tax positions and changes in legislation in the jurisdictions in which it operates. The Group’s uncertain tax positions principally include cross border transfer pricing, interpretation of new or complex tax legislation and tax arising on the valuation of assets. The Group is also monitoring developments in relation to EU State Aid investigations including the EU Commission’s announcement on 26 October 2017 that it will be opening a State Aid investigation into the UK’s Controlled Foreign Company regime. The Group does not currently consider any provision is required in relation to EU State Aid. The assessment of uncertain tax positions is subjective and significant management judgement is required. This judgement is based on interpretation of legislation, management experience and professional advice.

Provisions arising from uncertain tax positions taken in the calculation of tax assets and liabilities are included within current tax liabilities. At 30 September 2017 the total value of these provisions, including foreign exchange movements, was £190 million (2016: £165 million). It is possible that amounts paid will be different from the amounts provided.

Management have assessed the Group’s provision for uncertain tax positions and have concluded that apart from the French matter referred to below, the provisions in place are not material individually or in aggregate, and that a reasonably possible change in the next financial year would not have a material impact on the results of the Group.

In November 2015 the Group received a challenge from the French tax authorities that could lead to additional tax liabilities of up to £253 million. The challenge concerns the valuation placed on the shares of Altadis Distribution France (now known as Logista France) following an intra-group transfer of the shares in October 2012 and the tax consequences flowing from a potentially higher value that is argued for by the tax authorities. Based on professional advice, an amount of £42 million (2016: £41 million) is included in the provision for uncertain tax positions.

On 29 March 2017 the UK notified the European Council in accordance with Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union of the UK’s intention to withdraw from the European Union. As an international business the Group is monitoring developments but does not currently consider any provision is required.