Sunday 25 October 2020

Dutch tax minister tightens up advance rulings as 78 deals are found to have errors

Photo: Joep Poulssen

Advance tax deals with international companies may soon only be made by a team of specialists tax experts tax minister Menno Snel has told parliament in a briefing.

The decision comes after 78 deals, largely made between international companies and local tax inspectors, were found to have been wrongly drawn up. Snel ordered the reassessment of 4,462 advance tax rulings in November after the Paradise Papers leaks showed one major deal with Procter & Gamble did not meet the regulations.

Trouw reported in November that the agreement with P&G, which allowed the company to shift $676m untaxed to the Cayman Islands, had been signed off by a single tax inspector in Rotterdam, in contravention of the rules.

Snel told MPs in a briefing at the time that the P&G deal was ‘unacceptable’ and that he has instructed senior officials to make sure the rules are adhered to from now on.

The minister has now told parliament that of the 78 agreements found to be at fault, 72 were made by local inspectors.

Snel says the government remains a supporter of making advance tax agreements because they are an important part of the Netherlands appeal as a place to do business. However, he said, ‘given that this cabinet has pledged to act on shell companies’, perhaps the government should not be giving ‘certainty in advance to companies which only make a limited contribution to the actual economy.’

Snel said he was also looking into tightening up these rules.

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