Group Tax Strategy
The following tax strategy describes the fundamental attitude of the SWIETELSKY Group ("SWIETELSKY") regarding taxes.
The strategic orientation of the family company prioritises the sustainable prosperity of the company over growth. Entrepreneurial thinking and independent action by the employees as well as the continuous further development and the future-oriented acceptance of new challenges are core elements of SWIETELSKY's corporate culture and ensure a positive company development and the perception of SWIETELSKY as an innovative, performing and reliable construction company.
Elements of this corporate culture are developed further and bindingly defined in a Code of Conduct as fundamental legal, ethical and moral rules of behaviour. Law-abiding behaviour with regard to taxes and viewing taxes as a social responsibility are some of the fundamental principles that are defined therein.
2. Tax follows business in the regions
SWIETELSKY is active in Europe as well as in Australia and decides on contracts in each country based on its own portfolio of services and the market conditions. As a result of this strategy, guided by economic and operational considerations, SWIETELSKY also operates in so-called low-tax countries (for instance Hungary or Switzerland).
The foundation of companies or establishments is based exclusively on these operational considerations. All SWIETELSKY subsidiaries carry out active, operational business activities using physical resources and do not exist for tax optimisation or avoidance purposes.
SWIETELSKY acts properly and honestly with regard to taxes and duties. SWIETELSKY avoids aggressive tax planning and artificial structures. Every business activity follows the principle of "tax follows business" - all transactions have an operational purpose and are not motivated by tax considerations.
3. Taxes as a social contribution
SWIETELSKY's strategy consists in achieving its business objectives and simultaneously making a social contribution for all stakeholders.
On the one hand, SWIETELSKY pays income taxes, withholding taxes, excise duties and tariffs all along its value creation chain and in all the countries in which the company is active. Additionally, value-added tax and personal taxes are collected and paid. On the other hand, SWIETELSKY also takes advantage of tax benefits and subsidies provided by public bodies in the context of its activities.
The company thus fulfils its social responsibility as a taxpayer and, through its proper behaviour, contributes to the social, economic and societal functioning of states.
With all its subsidiaries and the taxes they pay, SWIETELSKY is committed to the respective sites and regional markets.
4. Observance of laws and compliance with OECD principles
SWIETELSKY strives to observe local laws within the framework of reasonable legal views. For this purpose, the tasks and resources of tax management are structured so that current requirements in the countries in which the company is active are observed to the fullest extent possible.
Before entering into a business relation, it is ensured that the basic structures correspond to the applicable tax obligations. During the term of contracts, the company fulfils its documentation obligations according to applicable laws and requirements, submits all necessary declarations and pays its taxes on time.
In light of the predominant share of the activities of the company conducted in Austria and of the characteristics of its operations abroad, internal transactions between the companies located in various countries are limited. The price for such transactions follows the OECD's arm's length principle and is described in the transfer pricing documentation. International reporting obligations associated with transfer pricing are observed. SWIETELSKY strives to follow the recommendations of the OECD (BEPS action plan) for cross-border transactions.
The collection of information by the tax administrations of various states requires extensive reporting obligations. SWIETELSKY strives to fulfil these obligations without exception.
5. Relation to tax authorities and governments
SWIETELSKY nurtures open relationships with public bodies and local tax authorities. Based on mutual respect, a constructive relation is developed and a target-oriented dialogue is held.
The complexity of the tax frameworks, the scope of the business activities and the volume of tax obligations bear the risk of our legal views not being accepted by the tax authorities due to differing interpretations.
In such cases, SWIETELSKY defends the company's interests by analysing the purpose and wording of the laws and by respecting the objective followed by the legislators. When required, SWIETELSKY takes legal action to enforce its openly communicated points of view.
To achieve legal certainty, SWIETELSKY strives to obtain the interpretation of disputed facts by the tax authorities in a timely manner through audits or requests for information. SWIETELSKY processes requests by the tax authorities quickly and appropriately.
6. Tax risk management and tax compliance system
The legal tax frameworks in globalised business transactions are subject to frequent changes and are often complex. The need for interpretation by the authorities and the management bears an intrinsic risk.
SWIETELSKY has a low appetite for risk when it comes to taxes. The systems and controls as well as the tasks and resources of tax management are structured so that tax and duty laws and provisions are observed.
Risks are regularly analysed and reduced through appropriate measures. To this end, the tax management department is in constant exchange with all business areas, as well as with external consultants as needed.
The tax function in the respective countries in which the company operates is defined and is acknowledged by the locally responsible employees and by external consultants. These ensure application and knowledge transfer (for example through controls, policies or trainings). The collaboration with auditors and external tax consultants plays an important role in this regard.