In the UK, UnitedHealth Group comprises a number of related companies that are part of a wider corporate group wholly owned by the US parent organisation, UnitedHealth Group, Incorporated (“UHG”) (collectively, the “Group”). The Group comprises a diversified healthcare related business and is involved in the provision of health benefits and services, including clinical care resources, information and technology to meet the evolving needs of a changing health care environment.
The tax strategy below applies to the Group’s UK sub groups, UK incorporated companies, UK permanent establishments, and complies with the statutory obligations of paragraph 19(2) of Schedule 19 of Finance Act 2016.
Approach to risk management and governance arrangements in relation to UK taxation
The Group operates on the basis that tax affairs are transparent and compliant with tax legislation and recognise that managing tax compliance is increasingly complex. The Group’s internal structure is set up to ensure:
- The Group meets all UK tax requirements, files all UK tax returns and makes applicable UK tax payments.
- The boards of directors of each company understands the importance of tax compliance and how it is achieved.
- There is a constant dialogue between the boards of the various Group companies and those individuals tasked with the operation of its finance function, regarding the way our business manages its tax risk.
- The Group keeps under review how we meet its tax obligations by seeking external tax advice and managing relationships with tax authorities.
I. Senior Accounting Officer (“SAO”) Regime
The Group is subject to the senior accounting officer rules, which require a senior employee of the Group to oversee UK tax compliance and meet external reporting requirements. The Group’s senior accounting officer is usually a member of the boards of directors with knowledge of the controls and processes operated by the Group to manage its tax reporting obligations.
The Group meets its SAO obligations by undertaking controls and process reviews which ensures that appropriate tax accounting arrangements are in place to allow tax liabilities to be calculated accurately in all material respects. The SAO submits a certificate to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) each financial year confirming compliance with the SAO regime.
II. Country by Country reporting
This is part of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) initiative to require large multinational enterprises (“MNE”) to report details of taxes paid in each territory where they have a permanent establishment (“PE”) and to enable these territories to share the information. This is applicable to all MNEs having consolidated annual revenue greater than €750 million.
The Group falls into this category and therefore all companies in the Group must comply with the Country by Country reporting requirements.
The information will be coordinated on behalf of the Group companies across the world by UHG and submitted to the Internal Revenue Services (IRS – US tax authority) who in turn will share it with the relevant tax authorities e.g. HMRC.
III. UK Criminal Finances Act - Corporate offences of failure to prevent facilitation of tax evasion
The Group conducts business in an honest and ethical manner by taking a zero-tolerance approach to facilitating tax evasion, whether under applicable UK law or under the applicable law of any foreign country in all the jurisdictions in which Group companies operate.
The Group has a robust due diligence process in place providing for adequate risk assessments and remediation actions. Further, training sessions are provided across all lines of business impacted by the Act.
Attitude to tax planning, as it affects UK taxation
The Group undertakes tax planning as part of its overall business strategy. Professional advice is sought on a transactional basis, with the depth of such advice being driven by the assessment of the risk and complexity of the transaction.
The Group does not undertake tax planning, the sole purpose for which would be obtaining a tax advantage. The Group has a responsibility to minimise is tax risk and exposure to negative publicity through non-compliance with tax laws.
Compliance with tax legislation is key to managing the Group’s tax risk. The Group understands the importance of tax in the wider context of business decisions and has processes in place to ensure that the tax implications of transactions are considered as part of decision making processes.
The Group’s tax planning supports the commercial needs of the business by ensuring that the Group companies’ affairs are carried out in a tax efficient manner whilst remaining compliant with all relevant tax laws. The tax function therefore supports the commercial decision making processes and provides appropriate input into business proposals to ensure a clear understanding of the tax consequences of any decisions made.
The Group has relationships with professional advisers that allows provision of expert advice on complex areas of tax. The Group’s approach is to ensure compliance and understanding of its responsibilities to tax requirements.
Approach to dealing with the UK tax authorities
The Group’s communication with His Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (“HMRC”) is focused around timely tax compliance, for example meeting relevant filing and payment deadlines for taxes due. The Group commits to:
- Make fair, accurate and timely disclosure in correspondence and returns, and respond to queries and information requests in a timely fashion.
- Seek to resolve issues with HMRC in a timely manner, and where disagreements arise work with HMRC to resolve issues by agreement where possible.
- Employ the services of professional tax advisers to act as agents, and in a number of cases they liaise with HMRC on the Group’s behalf.