Netherlands is 15th most secretive tax haven

2nd November 2009, Comments 0 comments

A study of 60 countries around the world ranks Netherlands as 15th most secretive tax haven.

The Netherlands – The Netherlands is the 15th most secretive tax havens in the world, concluded the Tax Justice Network (TJN).

The study on 60 countries based their results on bank secrecy, transparency of financial legislation and the amount of financial transactions into and out of the country.

The Dutch Antilles is in 38th place in the so-called Financial Secrecy Index. The US state of Delaware topped the list followed by Luxemburg, Switzerland the Cayman Islands and the city of London.

The Tax Justice Network wants to see international legislation introduced taking care of the automatic exchange of financial information to prevent tax evasion.

This is not the first time the Dutch tax regime has come under fire.

In a government report earlier this year, Norway called the Netherlands “the world’s biggest tax haven”. In May, the White House included the Netherlands on its list of tax havens. The latter accusation was hastily withdrawn, however, after fierce protests from the Dutch foreign office.

The royal family also came into criticism earlier this year, when it emerged the queen's sister Princess Christina was running a tax evasion fund on the Channel Islands, using the address of the queen's palace in The Hague.

Multinational companies and tax evasion
Recently, a Dutch documentary reported that Dutch multinationals were getting away with paying little or no tax.

According to the programme, well-known Dutch companies such as Shell, Akzo Nobel and Philips pay only six to seven percent tax on their profits, whereas they should pay 25.5 percent. A tax law expert on the programme said the Dutch treasury misses out on EUR 16 billion in revenue every year as a result.

Several foreign companies also take advantage of the Dutch legal loopholes to get around paying tax. Multinationals like Boeing, Walt Disney and US Steel use addresses in the Netherlands to take advantage of the Dutch tax regime. The documentary claimed EUR 8,000 billion are processed through the Netherlands to avoid paying tax. That is a tenth of world trade.

Steps have been taken in the Netherlands to prevent tax evasion in foreign countries. In the summer, agreements were made with Belgium, Switzerland and the Cayman Islands to put an end banking secrecy. As a result the Dutch authorities can request information about Dutch account holders making it easier to track down tax evaders.

Negotiations for similar agreements are also underway in other countries. The Dutch authorities estimate there is approximately EUR 7 billion in foreign bank accounts on which Dutch tax has not been paid.

Radio Netherlands / Expatica

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