Tuesday 20 August 2019

Uber shifts intellectual property to Amsterdam, potentially saving €6.1bn in tax

Taxi company Uber has moved its intellectual property arm from Bermuda to the Netherlands, saving it $6.1bn on any eventual Dutch tax bill, international news agency Bloomberg said on Friday.

Documents provided to the US financial services authority SEC show the company’s structure was amended in March, before the company’s May IPO. The tax break will only kick in if the loss-making company turns a profit.

An Uber spokesman told Bloomberg the move was to ‘meet the demands’ of ‘the new global tax environment,’ and marked an end to Uber’s use of the tax strategy known as ‘Double Dutch.’

That structure, which involves Dutch paper companies which funnel profits to tax havens, is popular with multinationals. Both the EU and OECD are cracking down on the way multinationals avoid tax by using countries such as Bermuda to cut their bills.

The Dutch company which controls Uber’s intellectual property is owned by another subsidiary in Singapore.

The company’s headquarters for all its non-American activities have been based in Amsterdam since 2013.

Update, August 12: A source close to the agreement told the Financieele Dagblad that the Dutch tax office has not agreed to the deduction and there is no question of the tax office granting the taxi firm an advance tax ruling.

The tax office itself has declined to comment.

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