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New ActionAid report shows the FTSE 100 are addicted to tax havens

It’s well known that multinational companies use tax havens to dodge their bills.  But this morning, ActionAid released new research showing the full extent that Britain’s biggest companies are exploiting the loopholes offered by tax havens.

98 of the FTSE 100 are using tax havens, where you’ll find 8,492 subsidiary 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.  Many of the banks also have significant operations in the developing world.

Why on earth do multinationals choose to locate so many companies in tax havens?

Britain’s biggest companies have some serious questions to answer. It is a massive problem for developing countries, stopping them from building up their own revenue base and keeping them dependent on international aid.  In fact, developing countries lose three times more to tax havens than they receive in aid each year.

After the banks, the oil companies are the worst offenders.  BP and Shell have almost 1,000 tax haven companies between them, including over 100 in the Caribbean (hardly a noted source of oil). These companies often operate in developing countries, where natural resources play a vital economic role.

It’s time to end tax haven secrecy once and for all.

Greater transparency would give developing countries a vital tool in the fight against tax dodging, but also help to expose the scale of the issue. To help this along, we’ve published all the data on every FTSE100 company as part of our Tax Haven Tracker map.  Have a look at which tax havens your banks, petrol stations and favourite high street shops are using.

Ultimately though, we need government action to tackle tax havens and close the loopholes they create. There’s a real opportunity for the UK government to take the lead on this at the G20 Summit in November.  It won’t just help developing countries keep hold of the revenue they’re owed, but the UK too.

Categories: Action Aid | English | News

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