Uber has been using a complex tax shelter involving around 50 Dutch shell companies to reduce its global tax bill, according to recent research from the Center for International Corporate Tax Accountability and Research.
In 2019, Uber claimed $4.5 billion in global operating losses (excluding the US and China) for tax purposes — in reality, it brought in $5.8 billion in operating revenue, according to CICTAR, an Australia-based research group.
Uber had previously disclosed details about its Dutch tax haven in 2019, when it moved its intellectual property from Bermuda to the Netherlands, but CICTAR's research sheds more light on how the company has structured its network of shell companies.
"This is the Champions League of tax avoidance," CICTAR principal analyst Jason Ward told Dutch news magazine De Groene Amsterdammer.
Uber transfered its intellectual property through a $16 billion "loan" from one of its subsidiaries in Singapore that in turn owns one of Uber's Dutch shell companies, a manuever that grants the company a $1 billion tax break every year for the next 20 years, the researchers found.