“The Netherlands is still an attractive place for tax avoidance”

2021-11-22 16:05

2021-11-22 16:05

photo: NAPA / / Shutterstock

The Netherlands continues to be attractive to businesses and criminals to avoid paying taxes and concealing money through so-called letterbox companies, says a government commission set up to investigate the activities of tax avoidance companies in a report published Monday.

The commission was set up in February 2021. The conclusion of its report, which was distributed to Members, is unequivocal: the activities of the “shell companies” damage the reputation of the Netherlands.

“They also do not benefit the Dutch economy much, and they work to the detriment of developing countries through the loss of tax revenues,” said Bernard ter Haar, chairman of the committee.

According to the findings of the government body, in 2019 the Netherlands had 12,400 shell companies worth around EUR 4,500 billion, or 5.5 times the gross domestic product. “They practically did not provide new jobs,” reads the report.

The government commission states that the purpose of companies in the Netherlands is to avoid paying taxes in other countries, and the government “should prevent this” by working closely with the tax authorities of other countries.

“The fight against tax avoidance is one of the government’s priorities,” wrote Secretary of State Hans Vijlibrief in a letter to members of the lower house of parliament (Tweede Cameras), in which he communicated the committee’s findings. In his opinion, the government of Prime Minister Marek Rutte has already done “a lot” to this end and is planning further actions.

The Netherlands ranks fourth in the Tax Justice Network’s ranking of tax havens. The ranking analysts evaluate each country in terms of how easily tax systems allow multinational corporations to benefit from avoiding paying high levies in other countries.

Andrzej Pawluszek from Amsterdam


About Eric Wilson

The variety offered by video games never ceases to amaze him. He loves OutRun's drifting as well as the contemplative walks of Dear Esther. Immersing himself in other worlds is an incomparable feeling for him: he understood it by playing for the first time in Shenmue.

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