Of the top 100 British multinationals all but two companies have their setup in jurisdictions classed as tax havens, according to new data provided by members of the FTSE 100 group declaring the locations of their subsidiaries, joint ventures and associates.
The financial sector has the greatest presence with the 'big four' banks – HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds Group, and RBS – accounting for 1,649 companies located in jurisdictions classed as tax havens. Beyond banks, the data shows that nearly all of the top UK multinationals have subsidiaries in such jurisdictions. Overall, a quarter (8,492) of the 34,216 subsidiary companies, joint ventures, and associates of the FTSE 100 are located in dozens of jurisdictions classed as tax havens worldwide.
Fresnillo, a Mexican-based mining company incorporated in the UK, and Hargreaves Landsdown, a financial services company based in Bristol, are the only two in the FTSE 100 group that did not report companies located in tax haven jurisdictions.
Chris Jordan, tax justice expert at ActionAid, said: ‘‘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’’.
A 2009 report from the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) said that 83 of the 100 largest US publicly traded corporations were maintaining subsidiaries in tax havens. A similar study, focusing on the tax haven presence of French companies in the CAC-40 index, was published in 2009 by Alternatives Economiques.