An ICIJ Investigation
Global Companies' Secrets Exposed
New files obtained by ICIJ disclose secret tax structures sought by “Big 4” accounting giants for global brand name companies.
- Pepsi, IKEA, AIG, Coach, Deutsche Bank, Abbott Laboratories and nearly 340 other companies have secured secret deals from Luxembourg that allowed many of them to slash their global tax bills.
- PricewaterhouseCoopers has helped multinational companies obtain at least 548 tax rulings in Luxembourg from 2002 to 2010. These legal secret deals feature complex financial structures designed to create drastic tax reductions. The rulings provide written assurance that companies’ tax-saving plans will be viewed favorably by Luxembourg authorities.
- Companies have channeled hundreds of billions of dollars through Luxembourg and saved billions of dollars in taxes. Some firms have enjoyed effective tax rates of less than 1 percent on the profits they’ve shuffled into Luxembourg.
- Many of the tax deals exploited international tax mismatches that allowed companies to avoid taxes both in Luxembourg and elsewhere through the use of so-called hybrid loans.
- In many cases Luxembourg subsidiaries handling hundreds of millions of dollars in business maintain little presence and conduct little economic activity in Luxembourg. One popular address – 5, rue Guillaume Kroll – is home to more than 1,600 companies.
- A separate set of documents reported on by ICIJ on Dec. 9 expanded the list of companies seeking tax rulings from Luxembourg to include American entertainment icon The Walt Disney Co., politically controversial Koch industries and 33 other firms. The new files revealed that alongside PwC tax rulings were also brokered by Ernst & Young, Deloitte and KPMG, among other accounting firms.