Research being carried out by lobby organisation Holland Financial Centre into the role of tax deals and letterbox firms in the Dutch economy will not be independent, critics of the current system say in Friday’s Volkskrant.
The paper says junior finance minister Frans Weekers regards the research, due to be published in May, as the only independent study into the non-bank finance sector.
But MPs from the CDA, Socialist Party and left-wing greens Groenlinks disagree. They argue that the role of the Holland Finance Centre is to ‘strengthen the financial sector in The Netherlands’.
The research, therefore, is likely to focus on the benefits of letterbox companies without looking at the damage the system causes elsewhere through lost tax revenues, they argue.
Foundation SOMO, which researches the role of multinational corporations, has declined to take part in the research because it does not want to legitimise biased research, spokesman Rodrigo Fernandez told the paper.
HFC director Robin Fransman told the Volkskrant the research will develop new insights because so little is currently known about the sector. Critics may think there is widescale tax avoidance, but ‘that is not the case’, he said. ‘In practice, it is often how a company organises its finances.’
According to the Volkskrant, the non-bank finance sector includes 14,000 letterbox firms located in the Netherlands which have annual turnover of €8,000bn.
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