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Spanish, Italian and Portuguese firms use Dutch tax route

Sunday 10 February 2013

Around half of the biggest multinationals in Spain, Italy and Portugal use the Netherlands to reduce their tax bill in their home country, the Volkskrant reported at the weekend.

The paper looked 83 southern European companies which are included in the Forbes 2000 list of the world's biggest multinationals to try to find out how much national governments are losing in tax income.

Of the 83 companies, the paper says 46 definitely or almost certainly use shell companies to avoid taxes. In seven cases, the Portuguese, Italian or Spanish state is a shareholder, the paper said.

Eighteen of the 34 big Italian firms, 18 of the 26 biggest Spanish multinationals and eight of the nine Portuguese firms have Dutch letterbox firms. Just two of the 14 big Greek companies are using Dutch letterbox firms, one of which was Coca Cola's Greek bottling plant.

Real jobs

Economist Rick van der Ploeg told the paper agreements need to be made at a European level to stop a 'race to the bottom'. Tax deals should only be possible to attract real companies with real factories, the paper quoted him as saying.

Companies using the Netherlands to reduce their domestic tax bill include Prada, Telefonica, car-maker Fiat and Spanish fashion giant Inditex.

Most of the Dutch holding companies have no staff and 'shunt hundreds of millions of euros in dividends and interest through the Netherlands,' the Volkskrant said.

Earlier stories
Research into letterbox companies is biased, say critics
Multinationals and French state companies use Dutch tax deals
Tax deals for letter box firms under fire, MPs demand change
Starbucks under fire in Britain over Dutch tax deal
EU wants an end to letterbox companies
Letterbox companies largely exempt from tougher rules
The Netherlands is a popular tax haven for FTSE 100 firms
Holland no longer a US tax haven
More tax levied over tax haven income









© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

So tax havens have helped to wreck the failing economies - Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain. Good to see the EU wants to put an end to it. Maybe levelling the playing field is an option worth exploring - just legalise tax havens in ALL EU jurisdictions. They are not harmful to those offering it - Switzerland, London, Holland, etcetera. And legalisation is so much cheaper than prohibitions.

By Max Harmreduction | 10 February 2013 8:58 PM

What kind of paper/news is this? The paper only study the southern companies? isn't that xenophobic? why they don't complete the study with all companies in Europe? and in US? Because in Spain none of the biggest US companies: Microsoft, Google or Apple pay taxes, they report losses and use Ireland and Netherlands to avoid taxes. This kind of news are really xenophobic and shouldn't be published since it encourages despise against particular nationalities.

By Daniel | 10 February 2013 10:31 PM

The Dutch government wants to cut the pensions of those who move abroad to places like Spain and Italy because, they say, money is leaving the country that way. How much does the government make in taxes that would otherwise have made the economic problems in Southern Europe a bit more bearable?

By groverpm | 11 February 2013 4:53 PM

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