Hundreds confess to tax office about secret foreign savings accounts

Some 250 people confessed to the tax office they have secret foreign bank accounts over the first three months of this year, a sharp rise on 2012, Trouw reports on Friday.

In 2012 as a whole, 315 went public with their secret accounts.

Former tax office official Jelle Staats told the paper the reports have mainly been made by entrepreneurs who put their money in anonymous offshore accounts.

High taxes

Many made their money in the 1970s and 1980s and took their money out of the Netherlands because of high domestic taxes. Now in their 60s and 70s, they are unwilling to saddle their children with complicated tax constructions, the former official said.

Moves in Luxemburg to scrap banking secrecy laws may have had an effect, the tax office said. Tax officials are also keen to get their hands on the results of an investigation by journalists which turned up the tax haven habits of some 120,000 offshore companies and nearly 130,000 individuals

So far, €77m in illegal savings has been made official, but most of the 250 cases so far this year are still being dealt with by the tax office, Trouw said.


Earlier this month the tax office said Dutch nationals have €1.1bn in illicit savings in Luxemburg and Austria, the last two countries in the EU to have such tight bank secrecy laws

Between 2009 and 2011, Dutch people caught using complicated constructions involving foreign trusts and bank accounts were fined a total €430m for tax dodging. And an amnesty on illegal foreign savings resulted in 10,000 people declaring a total of €3.1bn.

The fine for people who come clean about illicit bank accounts currently amounts to 30% of the total. However, if the account is traced by tax officials, the fine can mount up to 300%.

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