This global strategy applies to the Warner Bros. Discovery Group (WBD) including all UK entities in the group headed by Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. (hereafter referred to collectively as “UK WBD”). This document will be made available to all stakeholders and published online. This document will be kept under regular review.
UK WBD considers that this publication satisfies the requirements of paragraph 19 (2) and paragraph 22(2), Schedule 19, Finance Act 2016 to publish a UK tax strategy for the financial year beginning on the 1st January 2023 and outlines the approach to conducting its tax affairs and dealing with tax risk.
WBD is a responsible taxpayer, committed to compliance with all applicable tax laws, rules, regulation, practice and disclosure requirements and seeks to create value on a sustainable basis by ensuring commercial activities are organized in a tax efficient manner.
This document has been reviewed and approved by the Board of Directors of UK WBD.
Attitude towards tax planning and level of risk
WBD’s Code of Ethics reflects the fundamental expectation that all employees operate with the utmost integrity. Key business decisions should be made conscious of the tax consequences and with the aim of optimising the after-tax returns including claiming reliefs and incentives where available. Any structuring that is undertaken will have commercial and economic substance and will have full regards to the potential impact on our reputation, legislative and regulatory requirements, brand and corporate and social responsibility obligations.
WBD acknowledges that many governments shape their taxation policies to attract international business with the aim of stimulating investment, job creation, and skills development. Where it is aligned with its business and commercial strategy and where eligible, UK WBD may make use of available credits and incentives to support business activities.
Governance and management of tax risk
The Executive Vice President of Tax and Senior Tax Counsel for WBD, who reports directly to the global Chief Financial Officer, has overall responsibility for overseeing tax strategy and managing tax risk. Accordingly, WBD dedicates resources to supporting an internal tax department (including a UK-based team) of trained, experienced, and licensed experts who liaise directly with constituent parts of the business, including at board and UK Senior Accounting Officer level to provide relevant and business focused advice. Tax risks are identified through the control environment and communication channels. The delivery of this tax strategy is supported by Legal, Human Resources, Finance and Accounting teams across WBD on a global basis.
The Audit Committee of the Board of Directors of WBD receives periodic updates on tax matters and is cognisant of tax issues. These updates will include material changes in tax legislation that may impact WBD (including UK WBD) as well as details of material uncertain tax positions.
WBD does not accept any form of conduct that facilitates the evasion of tax. WBD is committed to ensuring that it has reasonable procedures in place to prevent tax evasion by anyone acting on its behalf.
WBD takes the view that tax risk can be financial, reputational, or operational in nature. Given the scale of UK WBD businesses, risks inevitably arise from time to time in relation to interpretation of complex tax laws. Where the application of tax law is complex or the level of uncertainty is high, UK WBD engages external accounting firms and/or law firms to obtain appropriate advice. Where appropriate, UK WBD will engage directly with government agencies such as HM Revenue and Customs to lower the level of tax risk and uncertainty.
Working with tax authorities
UK WBD has an open and transparent relationship with HMRC and engages cooperatively, honestly, and proactively acting with integrity and professionalism. The aim is to avoid disputes, strive for early agreement on disputed matters, and to achieve certainty wherever possible.
As part of this engagement with HMRC, we will seek to play an active role in the design of future tax policy and legislation to meet the UK WBD’s commercial aims through participation within industry associations and by engaging with HMRC.