Accenture Heads for Bermuda - and Freedom
Accenture claims to have no global headquarters, however some argue that the company's largest offices in Chicago and New York qualify as headquarters offices. Each of those offices are home to 6,500 employees.
But if you dig a bit deeper, you will find that Accenture Ltd. filed incorporation papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission last February showing the company is registered as a Bermuda corporation that owns an operating company in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.
The following statement, filed with the SEC, explains Accenture's corporate structure:
Following our transition to a corporate structure, Accenture Ltd will be a Bermuda holding company with no material assets other than Class I and Class II common shares in our subsidiary, Accenture SCA, a Luxembourg société en commandite par actions. Accenture Ltd’s only business will be to hold these shares and to act as the sole general partner of Accenture SCA. As the general partner of Accenture SCA and as a result of Accenture Ltd’s majority voting interest in Accenture SCA, Accenture Ltd will control Accenture SCA’s management and operations and will consolidate Accenture SCA’s results in its financial statements. We will operate our business through subsidiaries of Accenture SCA.
Bermuda imposes no income tax or capital gains tax on its corporate residents. And although a move to Bermuda does not relieve a company of tax liabilities to other nations, tax experts explain that Bermuda-based companies can legally defer U.S. taxation on foreign income for an indefinite period.
The legal system in Bermuda also provides certain protections not found elsewhere. For example, shareholders cannot sue corporate officers and directors, class action suits are not permitted, nor are claims for punitive damages or pain and suffering.
Luxenbourg is also considered a tax haven. Laws in Luxembourg make it difficult for hostile takeovers to occur.
Accenture has 75,000 employees and operates in 46 countries throughout the world. It is the first major professional services firm to register as an offshore entity.