Half of the Ibex companies avoid reporting on tax havens and their disputes with the Treasury

Half of the large Spanish companies listed on the IBEX 35 they avoid reporting transparently about their businesses in tax havens or about the disputes they have open with the Treasury due to discrepancies on tax issues. This is one of the conclusions that emerge from the ninth report ‘Contribution and transparency’ that the Haz foundation publishes annually and that, on this occasion, points out to Acerinox, Amadeus, Ferrovial, Grifols, Merlin Properties, Solaria, ArcelorMittal, IAG, Logista, Laboratorios Rovi and Unicaja Banco (11 in total) as well as the Ibex 35 companies that do not provide any information about their presence in tax havens and off-shore financial centers. Bankinter, Mapfre, ACS, Banco de Santander, Fluidra, Indra and Meliá Hotels (7 in total) offer information, but it is insufficient on locations, activities, business volumes and perspectives of permanence.

The other 17 Ibex 35 firms do meet the compliance criteria described in the report on tax havens: Acciona, Acciona Energía, Aena, Banc Sabadell, BBVA, Caixabank, Cellnex, Enagás, Endesa, Iberdrola, Inditex, Colonial, Naturgy, Redeia, Repsol, Sacyr and Telefónica.

In particular, the Haz foundation points to Repsol as an example of “best practice” for the periodic publication of its document ‘Presence in Tax Havens and “other controversial territories& rdquor; in which the authors of the report have found detailed information on the main magnitudes of the company in non-cooperative jurisdictions, as well as a case study on the presence in the Netherlands and Luxembourg and an analysis on international expansion to the US. and, specifically, the case of Delaware.

Transparent, translucent and opaque

The ‘Contribution and transparency’ report analyzes the practices of transparency and good governance on taxation of the 35 companies that make up the Ibex. In its ninth edition, the ‘glass half full’, the report indicates that, in general, taking into account the twelve good governance indicators analysed, the companies classified as ‘transparent’ (54%) exceed those classified as ‘translucents’ (38%, who partially comply) u ‘opaque‘ (8%, which do not meet a large part of the parameters reviewed). In particular, seven companies are identified (Banc Sabadell, Iberdrola, Colonial, Endesa, Enagás, Redeia and Repsol) that have obtained 100% compliance with the indicators.

The ‘half empty glass’ shows that 51% of the Ibex 35 companies either do not report their presence in tax havens (31%), or do so in a non-transparent manner (20%). Another 51% of companies either do not report the risks that their disputes with the Treasury represent for their accounts (17%), or do so incompletely (34% of them).

“Tax information constitutes a very relevant content of economic information and must be communicated in a visible, understandable and complete manner”, the authors of the report, signed by Javier Martin Cavanna and Concepcion Sacristan Sanchez. Given the relevance that the foreign market and international activity have for many of the companies analyzed, the report recommends “providing clearer, more detailed and transparent information about their presence in tax havens, determining the regulations to which they apply, the locations , activities, business volumes and perspectives of permanence”. It also advises “informing about fiscal risk management policies within the framework of the compliance policy”. In addition, to avoid possible conflicts of interest, the report recalls the advisability of companies not contracting any service tax advice with the firms in charge of legally auditing their accounts, a principle whose non-compliance reaches 54% of the Ibex 35 companies.

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The report points to the 19 companies that contract with the external auditor tax advisory services or that do not provide a transparent breakdown of all the services they receive are the following: Acciona, Acciona Energía, ACS, Amadeus, ArcelorMittal, Banco Santander, Bankinter, Ferrovial, Fluidra, Grifols, Indra, Laboratorios Rovi, Logista, Mapfre, Meliá Hotels, Naturgy, Sacyr, Solaria and Unicaja.

The Haz Foundation recalls that there is an express prohibition to provide tax advisory services that affects all public interest entities. It interprets that the passivity of the companies on this prohibition It is motivated by the absence of sanctions for this malpractice. The auditing law penalizes auditing companies, but not audited companies, he points out. In some companies, like ACS or Acciona, The auditor receives more income from services other than legal auditing -such as tax advice- than from it.