US corporate giants such as Apple, Walmart and General Electric have stashed $1.4tn (£980bn) in tax havens, despite receiving trillions of dollars in taxpayer support, according to a report by anti-poverty charity Oxfam.
The sum, larger than the economic output of Russia, South Korea and Spain, is held in an “opaque and secretive network” of 1,608 subsidiaries based offshore, said Oxfam.
The charity’s analysis of the financial affairs of the 50 biggest US corporations comes amid intense scrutiny of tax havens following the leak of the Panama Papers.
And the charity said its report, entitled Broken at the Top was a further illustration of “massive systematic abuse” of the global tax system.
Technology giant Apple, the world’s second biggest company, topped Oxfam’s league table, with some $181bn held offshore in three subsidiaries.
Boston-based conglomerate General Electric, which Oxfam said has received $28bn in taxpayer backing, was second with $119bn stored in 118 tax haven subsidiaries.
Industrial giant says it would no longer pose systemic threat to banking system
GE filed to end its oversight by the Fed on Thursday. Photo: urs flueeler/European Pressphoto Agency
General Electric Co. formally asked to be released from supervision by the Federal Reserve on Thursday, saying it has sufficiently shrunk its once-massive financial-services arm so it would no longer pose a systemic threat to the financial system.
Being categorized as a “systemically important financial institution,” or SIFI, required GE to submit to financial supervision by Fed staff and rein in leverage, two factors in GE’s decision last year to exit most of its lending business, which until recently provided as much as half of the conglomerate’s profits.
In a filing sent Thursday to the Financial Stability Oversight Council, GE said it had cut its total assets in the financing division by more than half, eliminated the majority of its U.S. operations, and cut the company’s ties to the rest of the financial system that had led to its receiving the SIFI designation.