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 to clarify our views on responsible tax behaviour and tax governance. In doing so it is our policy to align with ING’s strategy to put sustainability, which includes responsible tax governance, at the heart of what we do.
Our tax principles endorse the ING values with respect to integrity, honesty, prudency and responsibility, which values are the main drivers for our relationship with tax authorities and our standing practice to be transparent about our tax approach.
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 (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), 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 (International Financial Reporting Standards).
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 always respecting the ING values and considering both the letter and the spirit of the law. In this process the views of among others (tax) authorities, non-governmental organisations, customers and internal stakeholders are continuously taken into account.
More information on tax compliance and tax risk
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.
As part of its tax risk management, ING Tax makes assessments for the purposes of product approval and review process. These assessments have the objective to establish whether new and existing banking products comply with the applicable tax laws and regulations, considering both the letter and the spirit of the law, and follow the ING tax principles. As part of the assessment, if applicable, the potential use of (tax) incentives and/ or subsidies are considered acceptable to the extent explicitly intended by the authorities. Material examples are the use of a Dutch tax incentive to support sustainable investments by ING Groenbank and the participation in the Low-income Housing Tax Credit program of the United States aimed at affordable housing for low-income families.
The ING Global Tax Policy including annual updates has been approved by the Management Board Banking and reviewed by the Supervisory Board. One of the guiding tax principles in this policy is that tax should follow business, thus ensuring alignment with the business strategy.
By using 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
|Potential Risks (examples)
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 meetings are held to discuss developments in national and international tax laws, regulations, jurisprudence as well as other relevant topics. External and internal tax experts provide input for ING’s mandatory training program in which the latest developments on tax integrity and tax risk management are monitored and shared on a continuous basis throughout the organisation. The training program makes a distinction between generic training and tailored training for specific audiences.
Transactions are reported in ING’s financial systems on a complete, accurate and timely basis, considering applicable tax laws and regulations, including transfer pricing regulations.
The ING tax principles are known and properly interpreted and adhered to by ING employees.
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 in which 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 undertakes cooperative tax compliance, 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 in our stance on 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).
For further in-depth information, also see our stance on income taxes.
Dutch Tax Governance Code
In May 2022, the Dutch Tax Governance Code (Code) was presented by the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers, a non-governmental entrepreneurs’ organization (VNO-NCW) (Confederation). The Code was drawn up in consultation with companies representing a large proportion of Dutch listed companies, including ING Groep N.V. (ING Groep). As part of this process input from the trade union movement, NGOs, tax experts and academics has also been taken into account.
The Code should lead to more responsible tax governance, more transparency on and public understanding of the tax position of Dutch listed companies. The Code should also enable stakeholders to gain a better insight and understanding of companies’ compliance with national and international tax rules.
The Code aims to provide more insight into the tax approach of large international companies and the taxes they pay. Because taxes are a vital source of revenue for countries around the world to fund essential services like education, healthcare and public transport, sound tax governance and paying a fair share of taxes at the right time is considered an important element of sustainable tax practices. The intention has been to align the Code as much as possible with existing standards and disclosures.
The Dutch international companies, including ING Groep, which endorsed the Code are required to apply the principles and best practices of the Code or to explain why they deviate.
On 9 March 2023, ING Groep has published a booklet which describes how ING Groep applies the Code.