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October 10, 2011updated 29 Apr 2022 12:32pm

FTSE 100 companies widely use tax havens

Nearly all FTSE 100 companies use tax havens to avoid domestic corporate taxes, according to UK charity ActionAid.

An ActionAid report, ‘Addicted to tax havens’, revealed that a quarter of the 34,216 subsidiary companies, joint ventures and associates set up by FTSE 100 multinationals are located in tax havens. The US state of Delaware is home to the most FTSE 100 companies with nearly 2,500. Remarkably, more than two-thirds of the companies registered in the US state of Delaware, which has a surface area of 2,000 sq miles.

There are more than 600 entities linked to FTSE 100 companies in Jersey, 400 in the Cayman Islands and 300 in Luxembourg.

The biggest tax haven user is the advertising company WPP, which has 611 tax haven companies.

However it is the banking sector, in particular HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds Group and RBS, that are the biggest users of tax havens, the report said. The four largest banks have 1,649 tax haven companies between them.

Oil and mining companies also heavily use tax havens. BP and Shell have almost 1,000 tax haven companies between them, including more than 100 in the Caribbean.

The only FTSE100 companies that do not use tax havens are Fresnillo and Hargreaves Landsdown.

ActionAid tax justice expert Chris Jordan said the use of tax havens by Britain’s biggest companies raises serious questions they need to answer.

“Tax havens have a damaging impact on the UK exchequer, the stability of the international financial system, and vitally on the ability of developing countries to raise tax revenues which would lift them out of poverty and make them less dependent on aid,” Jordan said.

ActionAid has called on the government to urgently rethink its current proposals to relax UK anti-tax haven rules.

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