UK Tax Strategy

This statement applies to DBS Bank Ltd, London Branch for the year ending 31 December 2023 and has been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the United Kingdom Finance Act 2016 Schedule 19 paragraph 19.

The UK Tax Strategy is aligned to DBS Group’s Responsible Tax Management and enables 'local control with head office oversight'.

Our approach

We believe that maintaining a fair and transparent approach to tax management is the foundation of responsible business practices. This underpins our continual commitment to pay our fair share of taxes in the locations where we operate and comply with all relevant tax laws and regulations.

We do so by:

  • Conducting our business in an ethical and professional manner 

    We adopt ethical and professional business practices and ensure that our tax policy and tax risk management framework are effectively implemented.

  • Strengthening relationships based on the principles of transparency and fairness

    Build and enhance trust with tax authorities based on strong tax governance and transparency.

  • Actively contributing to industry efforts on tax rules development

    Participate in industry feedback on key tax regulations and policies, with the intent of achieving the policy objectives and intended outcomes.

Governance and Risk Management Framework

The Board of Directors’ responsibility for sustainability includes responsible tax management, with the Board Audit Committee reviewing tax matters. The Group CFO, supported by the Head of Group Tax, oversees the tax function, which is responsible for tax compliance and the management of tax risks and exposures.

Our tax risk management framework is based on the following principles:

  • We only undertake transactions which are underpinned by strong commercial motivations that can withstand public scrutiny.
  • We carefully consider the potential tax sensitivity of transactions and are guided by a set of established escalation and approval procedures.
  • We have sufficient skilled employees in the locations where we have significant operations, and we will seek independent advice on transactions with significant tax uncertainty.
  • We take our tax compliance responsibilities seriously and fulfil all our obligations as a responsible taxpayer.

DBS has low tolerance for tax risk and adopts a clearly defined tax risk management framework that promotes transparency, fairness and accountability. This is implemented through our Group Tax Policy, which is approved by the Group CFO. The Policy is further supplemented by standards and guides to ensure continued adherence with the framework. 

These principles allow us to align our tax contributions in any tax jurisdiction with the value created in those locations. Our approach to transactions with clients is guided by our Tax Sensitive Transactions Standard. We will not knowingly engage in tax structures that aim to evade tax. In addition, we have processes in place to ensure that transactions that may lead to tax avoidance are escalated and reviewed by risk and control functions as and when required.

Working with HMRC

The local finance team has primary responsibility for the timely filing of statutory tax returns with and making tax payments to the HRMC. We seek to maintain an open and transparent relationship with the HMRC to build and enhance trust. We deal with tax queries professionally and collaboratively, and may seek independent external advice on complex tax matters.

Evolving Tax Landscape

Today, the global tax landscape is transforming rapidly, with greater focus on tax transparency and governance. The OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project delivered a BEPS package in 2015 that contains 15 Actions to tackle tax avoidance, improve the coherence of international tax rules and ensure a more transparent tax environment. This is followed by the BEPS 2.0 Project to address the tax challenges arising from the digitalisation of the economy. DBS operates in a highly regulated industry. We maintain economic substance and conduct businesses in places where we have physical presence1 . As domestic tax laws and international tax standards continue to evolve, we will continue to discharge our role as a responsible and compliant taxpayer through consistent implementation of the BEPS measures.

BEPS 2.0

Since the implementation of the BEPS Project, the OECD has continued its work on addressing the tax challenges arising from digitalisation of the economy with a Two-Pillar Solution. The Two-Pillar Solution is likely to take effect over 2024 and 2025, depending on international developments and the progress of OECD’s work on the solution. As of 16 December 2022, 138 member jurisdictions have agreed to the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on the BEPS Two-Pillar Solution. Pillar One seeks to reallocate some profits and in turn, taxes, from where the economic activities are conducted to where the markets are. Certain industries under Pillar One, including the regulated financial services sector are scoped out. Based on the current design and scope, as set out in the public consultation documents released by OECD, Pillar One would likely not have a material impact on DBS Group.

This statement is approved by the Management Committee of DBS Bank Ltd, London Branch.

[1] Where tax incentives are offered, we applied for them, fulfilling the conditions set out by the relevant Authorities.