No Match Found
of companies voluntarily published a tax strategy.
say the board and/or audit committee have approved the tax strategy.
disclosed some level of information on their total tax contribution.
referenced tax in their broader ESG reports.
Stakeholders are demanding a greater level of transparency from companies on their tax affairs because tax is increasingly viewed as a powerful indicator of a company’s societal impact. Tax has become a key component of the broader environmental, social and governance (ESG) movement and is being factored into stakeholder considerations when assessing the sustainability of a business. Investors, customers and the public want to understand companies’ approach to tax, how tax matters are governed, and how much taxes are paid.
In this year’s tax transparency report, we look at the tax disclosures being made by the companies listed on the main market of the Irish Stock Exchange and compare the year-on-year tax transparency trends. What is clear from this year’s review is that voluntary tax transparency is increasing, particularly in terms of the breadth of information disclosed by the companies already engaged.
Over the past decade, geopolitical and economic crises have fuelled public interest in companies’ tax affairs, resulting in the gradual introduction of various tax disclosure initiatives. However, recent institutional and regulatory drivers have intensified the pace of change in the tax transparency landscape. The trajectory has continued over the last 12 months and we see no sign of it abating.
The most significant changes for companies emanate from recent EU directives, all of which will need to be considered by Irish companies as they define their tax transparency strategies.
The CSRD and the EU Taxonomy are two pillars of EU’s sustainability reporting framework which will require large companies to report certain non-financial information across a range of sustainability topics.
While tax is not currently one of these topics, it will need to be considered. This is because environmentally sustainable economic activities as defined in the EU Taxonomy must comply with certain minimum safeguards, one of which is tax. The Platform of Sustainable Finance’s final report on the minimum safeguards suggests that a company could be considered non-compliant with the taxonomy if the company:
Companies will need to implement internal tax governance procedures to ensure compliance with the regulation.
In December 2022, EU member states reached agreement in principle on Pillar 2, which will come into effect from 1 January 2024. Pillar 2 introduces a global minimum effective tax rate (ETR) via a system where multinational groups with consolidated revenue over €750m are subject to a minimum ETR of 15%. In the context of tax disclosures, companies will face increased scrutiny where the ETR is below 15% in certain jurisdictions.
The ESG movement is causing companies to reshape their purpose and operating model. This means finding a balance between financial returns, social interests, the environment and transparency. Tax is integral to the ESG conversation.
While all stakeholders have a close interest in companies’ tax affairs, it is the demands of investors that are driving change within organisations. Action being taken by investors is having a tangible impact for companies.
For example, several institutional investors have released codes of conduct that set out what they expect from investee companies regarding tax transparency and their broader tax practices. In the past 12 months alone, several high-profile multinational corporations faced much-publicised shareholder motions urging them to publicly disclose tax data.
In undertaking our tax transparency analysis for this year’s report, we reviewed the tax disclosures of all 21 companies listed on the main market of the Irish Stock Exchange (Euronext Dublin).
Our review was strictly limited to publicly available information regarding financial years ending in 2021, as published at 31 December 2022. To the extent that they were published on their websites, we reviewed companies’ tax strategies, annual reports and ESG or sustainability reports.
While companies can use a variety of publicly available documents to make tax disclosures, our review found that substantial tax disclosures were made in a published tax strategy. Therefore, the findings in this report relate to companies with a published tax strategy.
In conducting our review, we used PwC Ireland's tax transparency framework, which leverages our home-grown experience and expertise, as well as that of our extensive PwC global network, on tax disclosures. Our framework, which we developed specifically for the Irish market, includes more than 30 tax transparency indicators, which we believe to be good practice in voluntary tax reporting. Our indicators broadly align to the key tax transparency metrics identified by standard-setting bodies and provide even greater depth analysis. These indicators can be grouped into four categories:
❛❛ In our experience, large companies typically have a tax strategy and a robust tax governance framework. A company may decide not to publish details of its tax strategy or its governance arrangements for many reasons. Therefore, it cannot be assumed that the absence of a published tax strategy, or specific disclosures therein, means that these components aren’t in place. Rather, they are not being made publicly available.❜❜
We have summarised below some of the key trends identified in our report. We would refer readers to the report to explore the full findings further.
Our review found that a tax strategy remains the primary means by which companies make tax disclosures.
While there is no requirement in Ireland for companies to publish a tax strategy, 11 of the companies reviewed (or 52%) voluntarily published a tax strategy.
There was a 67% increase in companies stating that their tax strategy is reviewed regularly.
All companies stated that the board has oversight of the company’s tax affairs. 73% of companies say that the board and/or audit committee have approved the tax strategy, consistent with last year’s findings.
This year’s review found an increase of 14% in the number of companies that discussed transfer pricing in their tax strategies.
Regarding accounting periods commencing from 22 June 2024, multinational entities with operations in the EU will be required to publish country-by-country breakdowns of corporation tax paid and other information on their jurisdictional footprint. This will bring a renewed focus on companies’ transfer pricing arrangements.
Jurisdictions which are branded as tax havens or uncooperative are subject to continued scrutiny. This year we saw an increase in companies voluntarily choosing to disclose information on entities operating in such jurisdictions. Some companies explain that these are legacy entities acquired as part of wider acquisitions and explicitly state that the entities are not used for transactions that do not have proper commercial substance. This is a good example of how tax disclosures can build on bare data in financial statements and provide context to stakeholders.
This year, we found that 45% of companies disclosed some level of information on their total tax contribution (TTC) either in their tax strategy or broader ESG reports. Some companies go a step further and include an additional narrative around their statutory/effective tax rate.
This year’s review found that 73% of companies referenced tax in their broader ESG reports. This is clearly an acknowledgement from companies that tax is an important ESG metric that their stakeholders are interested in.
To learn more about the key trends we identified, click here to read our report.
The tax transparency landscape is evolving. Companies need to adapt to keep up with stakeholder expectations on tax disclosures. We can support you in defining your tax transparency strategy and understanding your tax disclosure obligations. We can also provide you with your own transparency assessment, so that you can benchmark how your tax disclosures compare to your peers. Contact us today.
 Who were listed on Euronext Dublin in 2021 and remain listed as at 31 January 2023.
 Since the publication of our first report, three companies have delisted from Euronext Dublin including two companies with a published tax strategy. For comparative purposes, these companies have been removed from our statistics.