ActionAid’s efforts to uncover the complex tax haven arrangements used by major companies have taken another step forward with the submission of a complaint to Companies House, stating that half the companies in the FTSE 100 do not appear to fulfil their legal obligations to list all their subsidiaries.
This isn’t a minor technical issue. We think companies should be open and transparent about their use of tax havens, and the law requires them to list all their subsidiaries with the countries in which they’re based. It’s vital information which can help us study how British companies use tax havens and how they operate in developing countries. Eventually it should help us better understand how companies avoid tax in developing countries, as we did in our latest report on brewer SABMiller.
But 49 of the companies listed on the FTSE 100 appear not to have given Companies House this information. Martin Hearson, tax policy advisor at ActionAid, said:
“Massive corporations have been ignoring this basic legal obligation. By lodging a complaint with Companies House we are ensuring these companies will become more transparent about how and where they operate around the world.
“Giant companies often act as if paying tax is optional – an attitude the public finds distasteful. Companies have a duty to be transparent. With this small piece of information we can start to hold companies responsible.
“We want to see them pay their fair share in tax, both in the UK and the developing world. That’s money that can be spent on schools and hospitals.”