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U.S. companies & offshore tax shelters

By Laurie Bennett

July 29, 2013 at 9:58am

How widespread are foreign tax dodges by America’s biggest companies?

Of the 100 largest public companies in the U.S. (as identified by the 2013 Fortune 500), at least 65 have subsidiaries or properties in the most commonly recognized tax haven countries.

The total is likely higher, since many companies list only “significant” subsidiaries in their filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The threshold for significance is 10 percent or more of total assets. So for global companies, many offshore activities can go unmentioned.

Wal-Mart, for example, ranks No. 1 on the Fortune 500, but names only four “significant” subsidiaries in its most recent annual report. Three were incorporated in Delaware; the fourth is based in England.

The Muckety map above shows the largest public U.S. companies with activities in the recognized tax shelter nations of Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Cyprus, Dominica, Malta, Panama, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

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