A few weeks after the shocking revelations of the Panama Papers, Delaware is becoming more and more talked about. Last week, the Guardian revealed that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the two favorites for the presidential election, had registered several of their companies in this small state on the east coast of the United States.
They are not the only ones to have yielded to the charms of Delaware, far from it: the majority of American companies listed on the stock exchange are also registered there. If this passion is so strong, it is because the State is doing everything to please these companies as much as possible. Among the advantages regularly cited in the media: fiscal flexibility, which allows companies to optimize their taxation via more or less complex arrangements, confidentiality rules more strict than elsewhere, as well as courts deemed very pro-business.
As a sign that this situation is starting to irritate all the way to the top of the executive, the Obama administration announced at the end of March that it intended to do away with Delaware’s opaque tax system. While waiting to know if this announcement will be followed up, here are 10 figures to better understand the specifics of this American state like no other.
1st: Delaware was the first American state to ratify the Constitution of the United States on December 7, 1787. Hence its nickname “First State”.
5,133 km2: the area of Delaware, wedged between Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the Atlantic Ocean. Of the 50 American states, it is the second smallest behind that of Rhode Island. It is the equivalent of the area of a department like Lozère.
0.4%: the weight of Delaware’s economic activity in the total gross domestic product of the United States in 2014. Or 63 billion dollars out of a total of 17.316 billion. The growth of the Delaware economy is nothing exceptional: it reached only 1.2% in 2014, almost twice less than for the whole country (+ 2.2%).
4.4%: the unemployment rate in Delaware in March 2016. A rate slightly lower than the national average (5%) but which is far from being the lowest (2.5% in South Dakota).
2nd: Delaware would be the 2nd American state in which it is easier to create a completely anonymous front company, behind Nevada, according to a study of 3 American researchers dating from 2012, who tried to open worldwide . Overall, the United States is considered the second most flexible country for the creation of shell companies, behind Kenya.
1.1 million: the number of companies registered in Delaware at the end of 2014. A figure up 26% compared to 2008… and above all higher than the number of inhabitants of the State (945,934 on July 1, 2015).
65.6% of Fortune 500 companies, which brings together the 500 largest American companies by turnover, are registered in Delaware, although their head office is very rarely based there. This ratio was 58% in 2000.
285,000: the number of companies, including Apple, Coca-Cola, Berkshire Hathaway and others Google, that would be located in a single building, located at 1209 North Orange Street in Wilmington, Delaware. In reality, they do not really have offices there but a simple mailbox. It would also be the address chosen by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the two presidential candidates, to register some of their companies.
$ 927.8 million: these are the amounts of taxes and commissions collected by Delaware in 2014 from companies registered in the state. This represented 26% of its budget.
3rd: the place of the United States in the ranking of the most financially opaque countries, produced by Tax Justice Network, an organization specializing in the denunciation of tax havens. Just behind Switzerland and Hong Kong. A position that the country owes in particular to the lack of transparency of certain states such as Delaware.
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