European banks storing €20bn a year in tax havens – Barclays and HSBC among banks booking money equivalent to 14% of annual profits in offshore entities
Leading European banks are booking around €20bn (£17bn) a year – equivalent to 14% of their total profits – in tax havens, with Barclays, HSBC and NatWest Group among those enjoying the lowest tax rates, according to a new report.
The figures emerge from an analysis, conducted by the EU Tax Observatory, of 36 big banks required to publicly report country-by-country data on their activities.
Banks said to enjoy a particularly low effective tax rate on their profits, of less than 15%, including Barclays, HSBC and NatWest – which changed its name from Royal Bank of Scotland last year. The effective tax rate is calculated as the ratio between aggregated tax paid and profit posted, across all jurisdictions.
A spokesperson for HSBC said the bank did “not employ tax avoidance strategies, including those designed to artificially divert profits to low-tax jurisdictions”.