As the Wall Street Journal has reported:
WASHINGTON—Some of the biggest U.S. companies, including Google Inc. and FedEx Corp., have quietly removed hundreds of offshore subsidiaries from their publicly disclosed financial filings over the past several years.
Software maker Oracle Corp., for instance, disclosed more than 400 subsidiaries in its 2010 annual report. By 2012 the list had been whittled to eight—five of which were located in Ireland. Oracle declined to comment.
The vanishing subsidiaries don't stem from asset sales or corporate restructuring. Companies across industries say they are taking advantage of Securities and Exchange Commission rules that demand disclosure only when subsidiary operations are "significant."
Financial opacity is increasing, but the more companies do this the more they make the case for country-by-country reporting, which would require the disclosure of every subsidiary and what it does.
And in the meantime I thnk t should be law that the accounts of every subsidiary of every UK company should be on UK public record. Can anyone think of a single good reason why not?
Hat tip: Nick Shaxson