98 FTSE 100 companies use tax havens

NINETY-EIGHT of the FTSE 100 companies have subsidiaries in tax havens, a report by the ActionAid charity has said.

The report, Addicted to tax havens, showed that FTSE 100 companies have a total of 34,216 subsidiaries and 38% of their overseas companies are located in low tax jurisdictions. Only Fresnillo and Hargreaves Lansdown do not have subsidiaries in tax havens, the research shows.

The banking sector was a particularly big user of tax havens, with the Big Four banks – HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and RBS – owning a total of 1,649 tax haven companies. The report states that Barclays alone has 174 companies in the Cayman Islands.

Advertising giant WPP, which moved its headquarters to Dublin because of the UK’s tax regime, is the biggest user of tax havens, with 611 companies based in low-tax jurisdictions.

Strikingly, there are more FTSE 100 subsidiaries in Jersey than in China, the findings show.

“The findings are of particular concern because many FTSE 100 groups are set to benefit from plans currently under consideration by the Treasury to give multinational companies using tax havens an £840m tax break, by relaxing the very rules designed to prevent tax-haven abuse,” the report says.

The report concludes that the G20 should move to ensure that tax havens are forced to share information with tax authorities not only in rich countries but in developing countries that want to receive it by supporting multilateral tax information exchange initiatives.

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