Chevron accused of 'aggressive tax minimisation' over North Sea oil

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
25 August 2016

Chevron has been accused of not paying enough tax on its North Sea oil revenues.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) claims the oil company has “secretive corporate structures and aggressive tax minimisation schemes”, following an analysis of public records that shows the presence of subsidiaries in tax havens.

However, Chevron has strenuously denied the allegations and said it has paid more than £3.5bn in UK taxes over the past decade.

In a report ITF said: “Chevron’s 2014 UK filings show tax charges for previous years and tax credits for the current year, but don’t reveal what taxes may have been paid, if any, in the UK.”

Steve Cotton, ITF general secretary, said: “The public would be shocked to see how Chevron uses a complex web of companies to route money through the Netherlands, Bermuda and other tax havens. It has over 200 active subsidiaries in Bermuda alone.

“This at a time when there has been a dramatic reduction in tax revenue from the North Sea. In the mid 1980s, taxes on North Sea oil production accounted for nearly 9% of all tax receipts collected by the UK government – today it is just 0.7%.

“While production has fallen, tax revenues have fallen much further, due to tax cuts and aggressive tax minimisation schemes.”

He added: “The UK Parliament needs to establish an inquiry to investigate the corporate structures used by the oil companies operating in the North Sea and the impact they have on security, taxes and royalties.”

Chevron said in a statement: “Chevron North Sea Ltd fully complies with all tax laws relating to its North Sea UK interests and the allegations made by the International Transport Workers’ Federation are incorrect.

“In the past 10 years, Chevron’s North Sea related activities have generated a tax contribution to the UK Exchequer of more than £3.5bn.

“Corporation tax from North Sea profits is ring fenced by law in the UK and untaxed profits are not taken outside of the UK.”

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