In June 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed WHSmith’s family tree on the Hoovers corporate database. This showed that the company had three subsidiaries in jurisdictions considered by Ethical Consumer to be tax havens at the time of writing. Of these, two were holding companies, which was a high risk company type for likely use of tax avoidance:
Inmotion Entertainment Holdings, LLC in Nevada.
The Marshall Retail Group LLC in Nevada.
The ordinary subsidiary was WH SMITH ASIA LIMITED in Hong Kong.
An internet search using the search terms “WHSmith tax policy statement country” found no country-by-country financial information or reporting (CBCR), nor clear public tax statement confirming that it was this company’s policy not to engage in tax avoidance activity or to use tax havens for tax avoidance purposes, nor did the company provide a narrative explanation for what each group entity located in a tax haven is for, and how it is not being used for purposes of tax minimisation.
Given that WHSmith had two high-risk subsidiaries in jurisdictions on Ethical Consumer's tax haven list and no country-by-country financial information, nor adequate policy statement and narrative explanation, the company received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for likely use of tax avoidance strategies and lost a whole mark under Tax Conduct.