2017 UK Tax Strategy
In compliance with paragraph 19(2) of Schedule 19 of Finance Act 2016, the UK companies that are a part of the Weight Watchers International, Inc. worldwide group (the “WW UK Entities”) are publishing their tax strategy for the year ending December 31, 2017.
Weight Watchers provides commercial weight management services and offers innovative, digital weight management products through its websites, mobile sites and apps. These services and products are built on the Weight Watchers’ weight management program, which helps people lose weight through sensible and sustainable food plans, activity, behavior modification and group support.
Tax Risk Management and Governance
The management of the WW UK entities identifies, assesses and manages tax risks and accounts for them appropriately, in accordance with relevant accounting standards. Internal governance is not prescriptive on the levels of acceptable risk. Tax risk is considered on a case-by-case basis for any particular transaction.
Key risks and issues related to tax are escalated to and considered by the Audit Committee of the Weight Watchers International, Inc.’s Board of Directors. Management reports on a quarterly basis to the Audit Committee on Tax-related matters. The Audit Committee also reviews Weight Watchers International, Inc.’s global system of internal controls and compliance processes, and oversees its auditors. In this way, the Audit Committee of the Weight Watchers International, Inc.’s Board of Directors provides governance and oversight of tax risks.
The management of the WW UK entities engages in efficient tax planning as part of an overall business strategy. The management of the WW UK entities does not engage in aggressive tax planning, the primary purpose of which would be to obtain a tax advantage. The management of the WW UK entities aims to be subject to an appropriate amount of tax for the operations of its UK companies. The management of the WW UK entities does not use artificial tax arrangements, and aims to adhere to all relevant UK taxation laws. Intercompany transactions by the WW UK entities with any member of the WWI worldwide group are conducted on an arm’s length basis and in accordance with current OECD guidelines.
Relationship with HMRC
The management of the WW UK entities communication with HMRC is focused around timely tax compliance. The management of the WW UK entities aims to ensure that all relevant filing and payment deadlines for UK taxes are met. The management of the WW UK entities aims to be open and transparent with HMRC and provide all relevant information that is necessary for HMRC to review possible tax risks. When necessary, the management of the WW UK entities employs the services of professional tax advisers to act as their agents, and liaise with HMRC on our behalf.