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FTSE 100 companies among Britain's biggest tax hideaways

(4 Posts)
ttosca Tue 11-Oct-11 08:36:24

Britain loses £18billion a year because its richest companies squirrel away their fortunes overseas out of sight of the taxman, a new investigation reveals.

The figure is 12 times as much as the £1.5billion lost through benefit fraud, and would pay our legal aid bill nine times over or cover the cost of the war in Afghanistan.

All but two of the companies in the FTSE 100 have put money into overseas tax havens. The biggest group is the four big high street banks, who have 1,649 subsidiaries in low-tax bases.

Advertising giant WPP has the most tax haven-based businesses, with 611 registered in locations such as Jersey and the Cayman Islands, according to campaign group ActionAid.

But, rather than clamp down on the practice, chancellor George Osborne has signalled an £840million tax break for multinationals using tax havens.

Chris Jordan, ActionAid’s tax justice expert, said: ‘While multinationals use tax havens to avoid paying their fair share, ordinary people in both rich and poor countries are left to pick up the bill.

‘Spending on doctors, nurses and other essential services gets cut for those who need it most.’

The multinationals listed on the FTSE 100 have a total of 32,216 subsidiary companies between them, with one in four based in tax havens. The only two not using havens are metals mining company Fresnillo and financial services provider Hargreaves Lansdown.

There are 600 subsidiaries based in no-tax Jersey, with another 400 in the zero-rate Cayman Islands and 300 in Luxembourg.

Others are drawn to Delaware in the US because it makes few demands on companies to disclose information about themselves.

Mr Jordan added: ‘At a time when all countries are desperate for revenues, the UK government can’t afford to turn a blind eye.’

The companies insisted many of their subsidiaries were genuine businesses and that they were still among Britain’s top taxpayers.

chandellina Tue 11-Oct-11 09:16:06

Many FTSE100 companies do virtually no business here.

WPP isn't even currently headquartered in the UK.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 11-Oct-11 09:32:07

Swiss Banks Agree To Pass Tax to UK I think, with this landmark deal, the UK government is showing that they are not 'turning a bind eye' but making some important progress.

niceguy2 Tue 11-Oct-11 09:54:02

Multinational's by their very definition are erm...multi-national. They do business all over the world and pay taxes all over the world.

I don't see anything wrong as long as they are paying the taxes due in the UK on the part of the business they are doing in the UK. It would be ludicrous to expect Vodafone to pay UK taxes for business done in say Germany.

Let's not also forget that multinational's do employ a hell of a lot of people who earn good money and as a result pay taxes to the UK economy.

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