Europe is appalled by the tax haven in the Netherlands and chases mailbox companies Do not miss these stories

20 billionEurope is going to thoroughly screen the more than 12,000 mailbox companies in the Netherlands. Under penalty of sky-high fines, they must soon provide the tax authorities with insight into both their tax returns and their activities. This is stated in a proposal that the European Commission is sending to the European Parliament and the Member States today.

Brussels will thus put an end to an annual loss of 20 billion euros in tax revenue, about half of which can be attributed to (empty) mailbox companies in the Netherlands. The Netherlands has for years been known as an international aid service for tax evasion. Together with Luxembourg, our country accounts for half of what the IMF calls ‘ghost investment’ worldwide. Although the intention is to examine the whole sector, Brussels focuses primarily on companies with many cross-border activities and virtually no staff. All their data is put into a database that is accessible to all European tax authorities, and then it starts to rain en masse – especially with the ’empty mailboxes’. “Bono, Stones, Ronaldo and Shakira are not having a good day,” said PvdA MEP and tax specialist Paul Tang. They have also located their financial interests in Amsterdam and Luxembourg.

‘Rotting heart of Europe’

According to Tang, the screening and approach to the mailbox sector will not come a day too soon. Holland under Routes I to III was on the brakes for years. This alienated spread, while ‘we’ – apart from a few well-paid law firms and consulting firms in Zuidas – have almost nothing left. “Compared to their size, the importance of management companies to the Dutch economy is limited, both in terms of employment (three to four thousand jobs) and tax transfer (0.2 percent of total tax revenue),” the Ter Committee said quite recently. Hair. And her conclusion: “This is out of proportion to the negative effects on other countries and the reputation of the Netherlands.” Tang: ,, Every year an amount of more than five times the Dutch economy flows through it. “All this money laundering and tax evasion attracts so much crime that the Netherlands, as the Italian investigative journalist Roberto Saviano writes, has become the rotting heart of Europe.” And, in part, referring to Ter Haar: “I wonder if our government is fully aware of what reputation we have abroad.”

PR stunt in 2018 by Dutch economist and PvdA MEP Paul Tang at Bono’s house in Ireland, to symbolically return the American singer’s Dutch letterbox company. © Hollandse Hoogte / ANP

Concrete measures

In the coalition agreement, Route IV promises to combat tax evasion. Tang: ,, But there are no concrete measures attached to it, so we do not know if it is only words or also deeds. I had hoped for more. ” He is convinced of the good intentions of EU Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni (Economic Affairs). “I can see that he wants to bring out the hidden abilities, he really wants to clean up. The pressure to do so is growing day by day. Pandora Papers and other revelations about tax scandals do their job. In the Netherlands, an employers ‘organization such as VNO-NCW now also sees the damage that tax evasion causes, both in the Netherlands’ reputation and in the economy. ” After all, every euro in tax that is avoided has to be paid by others – by employees or by bona fide companies.

The committee’s proposal is to be adopted by parliament and member states after it has been approved by the college tomorrow. It should enter into force in early 2024.

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