In 2015, American multinational corporations held an estimated $2.5 trillion in overseas tax havens, more than the GDP of the entire country of France. These tax havens are scattered across the globe, and one of the largest is inconspicuously situated in a five-story office building in the city of George Town in the Cayman Islands.
There are nearly 100,000 corporate entities worldwide that use the Cayman Islands’ 0% tax rate to dodge corporate taxes, a number higher than the territory’s population itself. These thousands of corporations could together form a miniature city or a major financial district, but in fact thousands of their offices have the exact same address.
The Ugland House in George Town covers a mere 10,000 square feet of land, but is simultaneously the official home of a whopping 18,857 corporate entities. Spanning just five stories, there is one corporation registered for every three square feet of space in the Ugland House. As President Barack Obama has remarked, “either this is the largest building in the world or the largest tax scam in the world.”