98 of FTSE100 use tax havens
FTSE 100 have big questions to answer, says Action Aid
All but two of the UK's top public companies use tax havens revealing for the first time just how embedded the use of tax avoidance is among the FTSE 100, as the Treasury considers plans to hand the companies £840 million tax break, a new study showed on Tuesday.
Of the 34,216 subsidiary companies, joint ventures and associates that FTSE 100 companies comprise, 8,492 are located in tax havens like Jersey, the Caymans and Luxembourg.
According to ActionAid, whose study 'Addicted to tax havens: The secret life of the FTSE100' revealed the explosive data, it is the banking sector - bailed out by the UK taxpayer – that makes heaviest use of tax havens with a total of 1,649 tax haven companies between the big four banks. Barclays alone has 174 companies in the Cayman islands.
But it is not just banks, oil and mining companies make up the other group of tax haven users. BP and Shell have almost 1,000 tax haven companies between them, the report said, while British American Tobacco has 200 companies in tax havens.
Advertising giant WPP, which relocated its tax base out of the UK to Ireland to reduce its tax bill in 2008 – was exposed as the biggest tax haven user overall, using 611 tax haven companies.
FTSE 100 companies make more use of tax havens than their US multinationals, according to the report by the international development charity.
In a report – The Missing Billions - by tax expert Richard Murphy he estimated that £25 billion is lost from annually tax avoidance; made up of £13 billion by individuals and £12 billion from the 700 largest corporations.
Fresnillo and Hargreaves Landsdown are the only two FTSE 100 companies that do not use tax havens.
ActionAid said "We believe that the FTSE 100 have big questions to answer about why they require such a massive number of companies registered in tax havens.
"With both developing and developed countries continuing to suffer the effects of the global financial crisis, decisive action to tackle tax havens from both the UK government and G20 leaders is well overdue."
FTSE 100's favourite tax havens - in order of most popular - include Delaware (US), Netherlands, Ireland, Jersey, Hong Kong, Cayman Islands, Luxembourg, Singapore, Switerland and British Virgin Islands.
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