Cable to investigate tax haven subsidiaries

FIRMS THAT FAIL to disclose subsidiaries based in tax havens will be subject to a crackdown, business secretary Vince Cable has said.

Companies are obliged to confirm the locations of subsidiaries under the Companies Act 2006. Directors that fail to do so are liable to pay penalties, but this has not yet been invoked. The ActionAid charity claimed this year that 49 FTSE 100 companies were breaching the rules. A Daily Mail investigation found out that 27 of the 49 had since complied, declaring more than 1,000 tax havens between them.

Cable said: “We must do the maximum possible to stop tax avoidance using powers that haven’t yet been invoked.”

Chuka Umunna, a Labour member of the Treasury select committee is expected to table Parliamentary questions on the issue this week.

Martin Hearson, policy adviser at ActionAid, said: “We want to see an informed debate about tax avoidance in the UK and in developing countries, and we’re pleased that across government the momentum is building for more corporate transparency.”

A spokesman for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills said: “Companies House has delegated authority to act on the secretary of states behalf in cases where accounts appear to be defective. They have assured BIS that they will actively pursue companies who fail to comply with the accounts requirements under company law.

“We are clear that any failure to comply must be investigated and Companies House will do that.”


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