Tax Haven Netherlands: Merkies demands answers

19 February 2013

Tax Haven Netherlands: Merkies demands answers

SP Member of Parliament Arnold Merkies has asked Finance Secretary Frans Weekers for an explanation of why he wants a recent motion, originally proposed by the hard right PVV but which won the backing of a parliamentary majority, amended to remove the words ‘tax haven’ used to describe the Netherlands. The SP spokesman on financial and economic affairs wants to know on what grounds the Secretary of State rejects the idea that the Netherlands can be labelled a tax haven when thousands of firms are currently evading their taxes registering in the country.

Arnold Merkies‘It’s crystal clear that the Netherlands is making tax evasion by multinationals possible,’ explains Merkies. ‘In the Netherlands there are more than 23,000 box number companies active which move an annual total of €8,000 billion through the country. Although it’s true that the Netherlands is no tax haven for its citizens or for smaller firms, it’s certainly precisely that for the big multinationals.’

Of the hundred biggest firms in the world, ninety-one are active in the Netherlands. A large slice of these has an establishment in the Netherlands for tax-related technical reasons. In order to make use of tax advantages, they are not required to employ a single person here. They profit from the many constructions made possible by the way in which the Netherlands handles tax-related international agreements. Globally, states are losing hundreds of billions a year to tax evasion.

‘You can banish the term “tax paradise,”’ warns Merkies, ‘but that won’t make the problem disappear. If something quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck, then you can call it a duck. It’s just the same with tax havens. Let’s simply call the creature by its true name and work towards the Netherlands taking its responsibilities. In the end, moreover, we’ll benefit ourselves if multinationals make a respectable contribution to the treasury.’

Merkies’ questions to the Secretary of State included attempts to ascertain what, if the Netherlands should not be called a tax haven, it should indeed be called; whether he agreed that tax havens should be combated, if so how, and whether he even accepted that they exist, and could name at least one.

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