Ninety eight of the FTSE 100 companies are using tax havens, where you’ll find a whopping 38% of all of their overseas companies located, Left Foot Forward can reveal.
By ActionAid’s Asha Tharoor
It is well known multinational companies use tax havens to dodge their bills. Last year ActionAid exposed how Grolsch owner SABMiller siphoned an estimated £100 million out of Africa, while Boots, Barclays and Topshop, to name just a few, have all been in the frame in the UK.
But for the first time, as Chart 1 shows, we’re able to show the massive extent of tax haven use throughout the FTSE 100.
Ninety eight are using tax havens, where you’ll find a whopping 38% of all of their overseas companies located.
Our high street banks are the heaviest users with 1,649 tax haven companies shared between Barclays, HSBC, RBS and Lloyds. Barclays has 174 companies registered in the Cayman Islands alone.
Why on earth do multinationals chose to locate so many companies in tax havens? Britain’s biggest companies have some serious questions to answer.
Developing countries lose three times more to tax havens than they receive in aid each year. This prevents them from building up their own revenue base and keeps them more dependent on international aid. The same problem hits the UK exchequer too, with estimated losses as high as £18 billion a year.
From Vince Cable…
“Much of the shadow banking sector, a major contributor to the economic crisis, was only possible because of tax haven secrecy.”
…to George Osborne…
“We will also target tax evasion and off-shore tax havens… Everyone must pay their fair share.”
…politicians from the UK and around the world have talked tough on the need for a crack-down – but ActionAid’s research show UK multinationals continue to do brisk business in tax havens.
Our findings are of particular concern because many of the FTSE 100 groups are set to benefit from Treasury plans to give multinationals using tax havens an £840 million tax break, by relaxing the very rules designed to prevent abuse.
These same rule changes would also give the green light for UK companies, operating in the developing world, to siphon even more of their profits out of poor countries and into tax havens.
ActionAid is part of a global campaign, pushing to end tax haven secrecy at the G20 summit in France this autumn.
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• Profile of Richard Murphy, scourge of the tax avoiders – James Leppard, September 24th 2011
• FT takes apart Osborne’s Swiss tax deal – Shamik Das, August 30th 2011
• Osborne’s Swiss tax deal castrates international tax avoidance clampdowns – Daniel Elton, August 25th 2011
• Hypocrite Murdoch tells us how to vote yet avoids billions in tax – Claire French, July 11th 2011
• Why is Osborne relaxing anti-tax haven abuse legislation? – Martin Hearson, July 1st 2011
• Balls: “Rock and roll” time for tax avoiders – Dominic Browne, March 18th 2011
• Lucas launches campaign to end £16bn tax evasion scandal – Shamik Das, March 17th 2011
• Millionaire footballers exposed as the latest tax dodgers – Shamik Das, January 17th 2011
• Mail and Telegraph pull anti-tax-dodging ads – Shamik Das, January 4th 2011
• How ActionAid exposed tax dodging by brewing giant SABMiller – Chris Jordan, December 1st 2010
• A crackdown on tax dodgers will help the poor and make huge cuts unnecessary – Paul Collins, October 20th 2010
• Osborne, Mitchell and Hammond accused of tax avoidance – Shamik Das, October 18th 2010
• Ed Miliband turns up heat on Clegg over tax avoidance – Shamik Das, August 20th 2010
• More pressure on Clegg as we reveal real cost of Green’s £285m tax avoidance – Shamik Das, August 19th 2010
• To end aid dependency, developing countries need improved tax revenues – Martin Hearson, May 25th 2010
• Tackling tax avoidance is the fair way forward – Zoe Gannon, March 24th 2010
• Cameron’s MEPs vote against reforms to clamp down on tax dodgers – Shamik Das, February 11th 2010
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