Making sure our customers know we pay our fair share of taxes

As a provider of an essential service that every member of society depends on, SSE firmly believes it has a responsibility to contribute to the societies in which it operates.

Paying the appropriate amount of tax is one of the ways SSE can do this; and we are determined to abide by both the spirit and letter of the UK's tax regulations.

There was public anger when some high profile household names were accused by MPs of using complex cross-border accounting measures to transfer profits to low-tax jurisdictions - thus declaring losses or tiny profits in Britain in order to pay minimal corporation taxes.

SSE must hear and address the concerns that our customers, the government and the public have around an issue like corporation tax. We wanted to find a way of saying to our nine million customers that we pay our taxes fairly.

So today we’re proud to lead the way and be recognised as the first FTSE 100 company to be awarded the Fair Tax Mark.

As a result of today’s accreditation, we hope to have set a new benchmark in corporate disclosure making our tax affairs more transparent, clear and accessible.

To achieve this accreditation, SSE has published a clear Group tax policy and significantly enhanced the tax disclosure notes within its Financial Statements to meet the stringent transparency levels required by the Fair Tax Mark. These go well beyond the current requirements of UK company law.

SSE will now provide country-by-country data stating exactly what it does, what profit it makes, and the taxes it pays in each country in which it operates.

SSE will also disclose its current tax separately from its full tax charge for each year; put on record what tax reliefs and allowances it claims and what impact they have; and explain fully how its current tax bills and deferred tax interact. Finally, SSE does not use artificial tax avoidance schemes or tax havens to reduce its tax liabilities.  

I do not expect SSE’s customers to celebrate the fact that their energy company pays its fair share of tax.  To be frank, that’s the least they can expect.  But I do hope our nine million customers are reassured by the independent guarantee that their gas and electricity is supplied by a company that seeks to pay the right amount of corporation tax, at the right time, and in the right place, and explains how it does that.

Fair Tax Mark accreditation is just one of several actions SSE has taken to make a difference to the countries and local communities in which it operate, including becoming one of the UK’s largest Living Wage employers. It says something profound about the type of company we are and aspire to be.

About the author

Gregor Alexander Finance Director

Gregor was appointed Finance Director in 2002, having previously been Group Treasurer and Tax Manager. He has worked in the energy industry since 1990, when he joined Scottish Hydro Electric. He has Board-level responsibility for Procurement and Logistics, Risk and Assurance, Investor Relations, Corporate Business Services, Finance and IT. He is Chairman of SGN, in which SSE has a 33.3% stake, and is a non-Executive Director of Stagecoach Group plc.

Read more articles by Gregor Alexander