The tax which foreign investors pay on dividends is not an issue for large British investors in Dutch shares, Rients Abma, the director of the Dutch association of institutional investors Eumedion, has told broadcaster NOS.
The government is planning to scrap the text from 2020, saying the measure is crucial for the business climate. The controversial decision will cost the treasury some €2bn a year.
‘I have not heard anything about the dividend tax from a single major foreign investor,’ Abma said. ‘Not before the decision, but also not afterwards. It is simply not an issue.’
Foreign investors are far more upset about the government’s plan to create better protection for Dutch companies against hostile takeovers than by the dividend tax, he said.
Companies pay 15% tax on dividends they distribute to shareholders. Dutch investors can set off that amount against their own tax demand and some foreign investors can do the same in their own country.
However, that does not apply to British shareholders, NOS pointed out. If the dividend tax is not abolished, investors in the British arm of Unilever will have to pay Dutch dividend tax when Unilever relocates to Rotterdam.
Adriaan de Mol van Otterloo, a partner in the British asset manager Intrinsic Value Investors, said in an opinion piece for the Financieele Dagblad that no-one he had spoken to considered the tax on dividends to be determining issue in deciding whether or not to locate in the Netherlands.
‘Naturally no one likes paying tax, but the amounts we are talking about are peanuts in the context of a portfolio and are irrelevant for an investment decision,’ he said.
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