Walmart Has $76 Billion In Overseas Tax Havens, Report Says
Walmart Stores owns more than $76 billion of assets through a web of units in offshore tax havens around the world, though you wouldn’t know it from reading the giant retailer’s annual report.
A new study has found that Walmart has at least 78 offshore subsidiaries and branches, more than 30 created since 2009 and none mentioned in US securities filings. Overseas operations have helped the company cut more than $3.5 billion off its income tax bills in the past six years, its annual reports show.
The study, researched by the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union and published in a report by Americans for Tax Fairness, found 90 per cent of Walmart’s overseas assets are owned by subsidiaries in Luxembourg and the Netherlands, two of the most popular corporate tax havens.
Units in Luxembourg (where the company has no stores) reported $1.3 billion in profits between 2010 and 2013 and paid tax at a rate of less than 1 per cent, according to the report.
All of Walmart’s roughly 3,500 stores in China, Central America, the UK, Brazil, Japan, South Africa and Chile appear to be owned through units in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands, Curaçao and Luxembourg, according to the report from the advocacy group. The union conducted its research using publicly available documents filed in various countries by Walmart and its subsidiaries.
Randy Hargrove, a Walmart spokesman, called the report incomplete and “designed to mislead” by its union authors. He said that the company has “processes in place to comply with applicable SEC and IRS rules, as well as the tax laws of each country where we operate”.
News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM