Tax inversions are big news at the moment with the US government needing to both criticise companies for doing it whilst also hoping to get them back. But with all of the inversions that have occurred in the past couple of decades, what are the ones that seem to be the most unusual or interesting?
Accenture - 2001
Accenture were one of the earlier adopters of inversion when they made the move to Bermuda in 2001 and have since reaped the rewards of this.
What makes this a peculiar inversion is that Accenture are a consulting company, who’s own actions have seen them move to save tax. It must be disappointing for the US government to know that a company who are working with many of the biggest companies in the world felt the need to move abroad themselves.
In fact, their advice may not be all too good, as it appears their help for Tesco to keep their ‘pricing process competitive and still profitable’ fell short after Tesco revealed they had miscalculated profits by £250 million in 2014.
Global Santa Fe Group - 2001
Santa Fe is one of America’s most famous places, having had songs written about it and films revolving around it. Based in New Mexico, which is well known for deserts, latino architecture and being completely landlocked, the company chose an iconic name.
Santa Fe (the city) is over 700 miles from the ocean, but the company who have taken the name, moved to the Cayman islands in 2001. A place where it is impossible to be more than 2 miles from the ocean.
Chiquita Brands - 2014
Chiquita have been established with the rainforest alliance for over twenty years and have a large interest in exotic foods like bananas, pineapples and mangos. Therefore, moving HQ from their initial base in Charlotte, North Carolina seemed logical, as not many of the objects with which they are associated, could be grown there.
However, they moved to Ireland, where the most associated vegetable is the potato and rather than having man eating snakes, the leading cause of death from animals is cow stampedes.
Burger King - 2014
Nothing is more American that a hamburger and Burger King are so associated with burgers that they have it in their name. Therefore moving to Canada, where their most famous food is maple syrup, is a peculiar place to move.
The other aspect that makes this odd is that they are merging with a company that many in the media are describing as a ‘famous Canadian fast food restaurant’, Tim Horton’s. Tim Horton’s themselves are a tax exile from the US, having moved there in 2009. In essence, they are creating an inversion expat community.
D.E. Master Blenders - 2012
What makes this move peculiar is that the move from the US to the Netherlands for tax, saw them moving from the largest nation of coffee drinkers in the world. They in fact moved to a country where most people from elsewhere, associate ‘dutch coffee shop’ more with smoking marijuana than any kind of latte or cappuccino.
PricewaterhouseCoopers - 2002
Of all the bizarre inversions over the years, this is the strangest. Simply because, since they have inverted, PricewaterhouseCoopers have continued to consult for the government that they left. This means that the money they are making from the US government is making money for the Bermudan government after their 2002 inversion to the country.
They still have over 2000 professionals based in the Washington Metro Corridor, helping to advise government departments. This is despite one of the biggest issues for the current government being the inversion of companies out of the US. So they are essentially advising the government on how to keep companies in the US when they have already left for the same reasons.