Some banks' small UK tax payments are because they report modest profits here.
Deutsche Bank's European investment banking arm is based in London and the vast majority of its European fees are generated here, filings show, but its profits are not.
Deutsche reported a loss of 2.2 billion euros in 2014 in Britain, where it employs 8,000 investment and commercial bankers. By contrast, it reported 549 million euros profit in Luxembourg, where it employed 610 people and where tax rules allow financial companies to earn income tax free.
The absence of UK profits meant Deutsche had no tax bill in Britain. A spokesman declined to say how much tax the bank paid in Luxembourg or why its Luxembourg operation was so profitable and the much bigger UK operation reported a loss.
U.S. banking giant Morgan Stanley also reported a loss in Britain in 2014, giving rise to a zero tax bill. This is despite the fact that half of Morgan Stanley's non-U.S. revenues, which generated profits of $1.8 billion in 2014, come from the London arm, filings show.
Profits at the main UK operating unit were eliminated by $670 million in inter-group charges. A Morgan Stanley spokesman declined to say what jurisdiction the affiliates to which these charges were paid were based in, and to offer any comment on its tax affairs.
Sharon Bowles, a UK member of the European Parliament was one of those who pushed for country-by-country reporting in her role as chair of the European Parliament's Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee. She said it was important to know just how much tax banks paid.
"The UK may have been more tolerant with banks than other countries might be and more than the public might be happy with," Bowles said. "This is why we passed this measure, so people would do this kind of analysis."
Banking groups lobbied hard against the EU requirement to publish country-by-country reports, citing the cost of preparing statements and the potential for the data to be misinterpreted by the public.
"There is a risk of potential confusion for users rather than a potential to enhance transparency," the European Banking Federation said in a letter to the European Commission in January 2013.