We are mindful that every aspect of our business, including our approach to tax, has an impact on society. We have therefore chosen to formalise our approach so as to clarify our views on responsible tax behaviour.
As a global bank, we play a crucial role in fighting financial crime and protecting the financial system from harmful behaviour. This includes criminal activities such as tax evasion, but also aggressive tax avoidance, which is not illegal but can be damaging to the communities in which we operate. That’s why, in line with our values, principles and the expectations of our regulators and society, we do not want to facilitate such activities.
We believe in the principle that tax should follow business and consequently profits are allocated to the countries in which business value is created. We aim to comply with domestic and international laws and regulations, taking account of both the letter and the spirit of the law, as well as standards such as the OECD Guidelines, and we apply the arm's length principle.
Relationship with tax authorities
Wherever we operate, we seek to establish and maintain an open and constructive dialogue with local tax authorities and other government bodies, based on the disclosure of all relevant facts and circumstances. In this dialogue we seek to provide clarity and establish certainty on all relevant local tax components in advance.
We are transparent about our approach to tax and our tax position. Disclosures are made in accordance with the relevant domestic regulations, as well as applicable reporting requirements and standards such as IFRS.
It is our policy not to advise clients on taxation matters.
ING Tax Department’s mission
- To provide high-quality tax support to ING’s businesses and management
- To safeguard ING’s tax position in compliance with applicable laws and regulations
- To ensure that ING’s tax position is correctly reflected in our financial statements in liaison with ING’s Finance Department.
In all our activities, wherever we operate, we take due account of long-term considerations, manage risks and carefully weigh the interests of all stakeholders, while at all times respecting the ING Values.
More in-depth information on tax compliance and tax risk management
Tax policies, procedures and a tax control framework have been implemented to support management in mitigating potential tax risks and are aligned with the ING Values. ING has adopted a prudent approach to these tax risks and seeks to achieve an acceptable risk level in all activities, whilst taking into consideration matters such as financial risks, the relationship with tax (and other regulatory) authorities and the corporate reputation and brand of ING.
The Global ING Tax Policy is signed off by the Executive Board. One of the guiding tax principles in this policy is that tax should follow business, thus ensuring alignment with the business strategy.
Through the use of advanced technology, internal monitoring, control, data management and reporting of tax-related risks takes place on a permanent basis with regular reporting to various stakeholders. For 404/SOX purposes, an ‘effectiveness of internal control statement’ is provided. Tax risk management is subject to Corporate Audit testing and evaluation.
Controlling potential risks
|Controlling potential risks|
|Potential Risks (examples)||Control instrument|
Lack of awareness of changes in law/regulations, incorrect interpretation, not being involved in transactions with a tax impact and lack of awareness of ING Tax Principles.
ING Tax makes available to all levels of the ING organisation a well organised and dedicated group of competent tax professionals to provide high quality tax support in each jurisdiction/region where ING operates.
ING Tax maintains an effective and efficient tax function that complies with tax laws and regulations. Regular tax meetings are held, external tax experts provide trainings and the latest developments are monitored and shared on a continuous basis throughout the organisation.
Transactions are reported in ING’s financial systems on a complete, accurate and timely basis, taking into account applicable tax laws and regulations, including transfer pricing regulations.
The ING Tax Principles are known and properly interpreted and adhered to by ING employees. We regularly hold internal meetings where presentations are given and dilemmas are discussed, with our tax experts explaining what the right choice for ING is and why.
Incomplete/incorrect amounts of tax positions and tax disclosures in the financial reporting.
ING Tax has a complete overview of all tax positions in the tax jurisdictions in which ING operates.
The calculations of the tax positions are executed correctly through properly assigned instructions and are reviewed and signed off by the responsible staff within ING Tax.
ING aims to fully comply with domestic and international tax laws, regulations and OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises. Based on the latter, ING annually submits a report to the Dutch tax authorities covering all countries where ING is active. The report contains the following information per tax jurisdiction:
- Profits made
- Turnover from intra-group and third-party transactions
- Corporate income tax due, on a cash tax paid and accrual basis
- Average number of employees
- Value of fixed assets
- Description of local activities
This report is also provided to tax authorities in countries where ING is active and is used by these authorities to assess whether profits are being allocated correctly for taxation purposes to the countries in which business value is created, as well as for other purposes.
Relationship with tax authorities
ING has opted for cooperative tax compliance (‘horizontaal toezicht’), which implies overall transparency and disclosure of relevant tax risks to the Dutch tax authorities. ING seeks to maintain the same level of transparency with local tax authorities worldwide.
From 2015 onwards, ING’s annual reports have contained a country-by-country overview of the result before tax and the total tax charge per tax jurisdiction.
ING Group’s (weighted) average global effective income tax rate for the last three years is published annually on Our Stance – Income Taxes. More in depth information on the global effective tax rate can be found in our Annual Report (chapter Consolidated Annual Accounts - Taxation). The cash tax paid per year is also reported on a consolidated basis in our Annual Report (see our consolidated statement of cash flows).
Tax Governance Code
ING joined the latest Tax Governance Code developed by the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW). ING embraces the principles of the code and will work consciously to comply with all targets set.
In line with international trends
The code was drawn up in consultation with companies representing a large proportion of Dutch listed companies, comprising input from the trade union movement, NGOs, tax experts and academics. Existing initiatives, such as the B-Team Responsible Tax Principles and the Global Reporting Initiative were used as the basics to set up the code. The code will help to build trust and will serve as a meaningful answer to the public call to companies for more transparency and accountability on their tax position.