Thursday, October 20, 2011
“Much of the shadow banking sector, a major contributor to the economic crisis, was also only possible because of tax haven secrecy.”
The Netherlands is one of the world's best tax havens for multinational companies. Boeing, US Steel, Walt Disney, Johnny Walker, the Rolling Stones and U2: they all have one thing in common. They don't come from the Netherlands but they pay taxes here. The Dutch treasury earns milions of euros from these multinationals seeking a safe haven to avoid paying higher taxes in their own country.
Addicted to tax havens:
The secret life of the FTSE 100
The full extent to which FTSE 100 companies use tax havens has, for the first time, been compiled, analysed and published in an accessible and searchable format by ActionAid.
Of the 100 biggest groups listed on the London Stock Exchange, 98 use tax havens. ActionAid’s research shows just how embedded the use of tax havens is in the structures of nearly all Britain’s biggest companies.
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 £840 million tax break, by relaxing the very rules designed to prevent tax-haven abuse.
An expanded tax revenue base in developing countries is the only sustainable source of funding for governments to invest in reducing poverty and inequality. It means that they don’t need to depend on aid and can achieve self-reliance. Yet, the OECD estimates that developing countries lose almost three times more to tax havens than all the aid they receive each year.
Spent effectively, this sum would easily be sufficient to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
Corporate tax avoidance, one of the main reasons companies use tax havens, has a massive impact on developing and developed countries alike. The lack of transparency makes it difficult for developing country tax authorities to identify and collect taxes owed by global companies operating in their countries.
With this in mind, ActionAid’s research raises serious questions about many of Britain’s best known businesses. How has the use of tax havens reached such epidemic levels? What is the impact on the UK exchequer, the stability of the international financial system and the ability of developing countries to raise tax revenues to invest in reducing poverty? Link Here