State-owned companies like Maastricht airport and Rotterdam port should pay corporation tax like any other normal company, the European Commission has told the Dutch government.
Brussels has written to the Netherlands formally requesting it end the exemption from corporate taxes for state-owned firms.
‘The Commission considers public companies that carry out economic activities in competition with private companies should likewise be subject to corporate tax – just as private companies are,’ the statement said.
‘Exempting certain companies merely because they are publicly owned gives them a competitive advantage which cannot be justified under EU state aid rules.’
While some state companies, such as Schiphol airport and the national lottery, do pay tax, others do not.
Rotterdam port, Holland Casino, Maastricht’s airport, several development agencies and Bank of Industry LIOF ‘compete directly with private players in the Netherlands and in the EU single market who do not benefit from the same treatment’, the statement said.
The Netherlands has one month to respond to Brussels or face an investigation into illegal state aid.
Junior finance minister Frans Weekers told the Financieele Dagblad he is in ‘constructive talks’ with the commission and busy with ‘steps to revise the rules in order to remove possible impediments to competition.’
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