ICIJ’s “Luxembourg Leaks” investigation is based on a confidential cache of secret tax agreements approved by Luxembourg authorities. These tax-relief deals were proposed by a major accounting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, on behalf of more than 340 companies around the world. These private deals are legal in Luxembourg.
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In this interactive application ICIJ is releasing a visual and searchable database of 548 tax rulings that have been approved by Luxembourg officials with a stamped and signed confirmation letter. In addition, ICIJ is publishing 16 other documents -- such as corporate tax returns -- related to companies in Luxembourg.
ICIJ’s reporting team also reviewed more than 100 other proposed tax agreements, but ICIJ is not releasing those documents because those files did not include full documentation showing that Luxembourg officials approved the deals by issuing a final confirmation. ICIJ has also excluded roughly 300 duplicate tax rulings from the database.
Most of the documents are being released today (Nov. 5, 2014). Others will be released after that date. A “coming soon” icon will come up on the interactive in lieu of those documents until all of them have been released. The majority of the files are being published as they were received by ICIJ, with the exception of around 30 cases where several documents were merged together in one because they were related to the same tax deal.
In order to create the database, ICIJ researchers combed through the documents and structured its main information (company name, Luxembourg subsidiaries mentioned in the rulings, year, country name, etc.) into a spreadsheet. Those are the fields that can now be seen in the application.
The parent company and subsidiaries names used in the database are the names that were valid at the time the document was approved. If the names changed afterwards, the new company name has been added in parenthesis. When the companies involved created a joint venture, both names are mentioned. Sometimes a standard name was used as a placeholder (“LuxCo”) in the leaked documents. ICIJ logged those entities in the database as “Name in progress”.
The documents range from 2002 to 2010, although the vast majority of rulings in the leaked documents were approved from 2008 to 2010. ICIJ recorded the date of the approval by the Luxembourg authority as the tax ruling date.
Less than 30 percent of the tax deals in the leaked documents include a specific figure for the amount of money that companies said they planned to “invest” through the Luxembourg agreements. The total for those deals was roughly $215 billion between 2002 and 2010. This information has been included as “intended investment” and in most of the cases the information comes from the “classification sheet” at the beginning of the documents. All the money figures have been left in the original currency. “Billion” refers to the American English billion (1,000,000,000). When in doubt about a figure, ICIJ researchers left the field blank.
ICIJ linked every company to one or several industries, based on this categorization derived from the New York stock exchange industry groupings:
Energy (Energy and natural resources). Includes: Mining, oil, gas, utilities, water, forestry, timber, fisheries, agriculture.
Finance (Financial services and banking). Includes: Investment, insurance, pension, hedge funds, private equity, accountants, personal banking.
Food (Food and beverage). Includes: Food, restaurants, groceries, bottling, drinks.
Health (Healthcare and pharmaceuticals). Includes: Biotechnology, nursing homes, hospital, surgical, health care providers, medical products, drugs.
Manufacturing (Industrial manufacturing). Includes: Electronics, transportation equipment, mining equipment, heavy industry goods, non-consumer goods, equipment for industry, construction.
Media (Media and Education). Includes: Publishing, broadcast, digital, advertising & marketing, educational institutions.
Retail (Shopping, goods and services). Includes: Retail, retailers (including online retailers), tobacco, automotive, furniture, clothing.
Tech (Technology and telecommunications). Includes: Software, hardware, internet, telephones, mobile phones, satellite communications, personal electronics, online services.
Travel (Travel and transportation). Includes: Airlines, tourism, hotels, air transport, shipping, freight.
All the published documents are accessible in Document Cloud and the structured metadata typed in by ICIJ can be downloaded here. This Luxembourg Leaks database is made available under the Open Database License. Any rights in individual contents of the database are licensed under the Database Contents License. If you use the data, please cite the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
On December 9, 2014, ICIJ released on this database a small new batch of Luxembourg tax rulings. ICIJ received the documents after the publication of the first installment of stories on Nov. 5. As the consortium had done before, it made the newly leaked documents available to its media partners around the world who reported on some of them and published stories.
The new documents are Luxembourg tax rulings sought by a variety of accountancy firms – including PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and other Luxembourg-based companies– on behalf of 35 corporate clients from around the world. The files cover the period from 2003 to 2011.
ICIJ is only publishing the rulings that were reported on by ICIJ and its media partners and that bear evidence that they were approved by Luxembourg authorities.
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