Avoiding Tax by Oranjes Allowed

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“If members of the royal family apply constructions to avoid tax, it is a private consideration. Tax evasion, however, is a serious felony and must be fought. But as long as something is not prohibited by law, people may use it.” Secretary of State Frans Weekers of Finance said this Monday in the TV program Pauw and Witteman in a response to a message that Princess Margriet and her husband Pieter van Vollenhoven used a tax structure to reduce the tax on the inheritance for their children and grandchildren. That construction is not prohibited. "The law applies to everyone," said Weekers. He wants no class justice, but also no ‘reverse class justice’.

Since 2006, Princess Margriet and her husband Pieter van Vollenhoven, the youngest sister and brother-in-law of Queen Beatrix, has made use of a tax construction for minimizing the tax on the inheritance of their children and grandchildren. The Government Information Service (RVD) has said that there is nothing wrong with that construction.

On the advice of ABN Amro, the couple put a significant portion of their assets in a foundation with the trust company TMF as executor. The profit on this capital is, according to the bank, wholly withdrawn from taxation, which is an advantage of millions of euro.

The princess founded the foundation called Foundation Royale in December 2006. The inheritance tax, 20 percent for children and 36 percent for grandchildren, is circumvented by the construction.

The financial trails of the Oranje family were discovered by the Volkskrant in 2009. They discovered, for instance, that from Noordeinde palace, the working palace of Queen Beatrix, a construction was designed, using a letterbox company, through the Channel Island of Guernsey. This construction was made to keep the inheritance that Princess Christina received from her parents, Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard, out of the tax system.

Instead of stopping that fiscal construction, and of simply paying taxes,  the construction was moved to the company Box Consultants in Eindhoven.

This caused quite a stir. The people thought it was outrageous that the only lady in the Netherlands, who did not have to pay taxes, facilitated such constructions, and that after two warnings they just moved it to Eindhoven.

Tax rumbling by our princes and princesses is of all times. After the late Prince Bernhard sold the castle of his mother in Warmelo, he also made use of trusts in Liechtenstein.

The news about Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven comes in the spotlight again on the day that State Secretary Weekers of Finance, after a meeting with his EU counterparts in Dublin, announced that the Netherlands will join the initiative of the five largest EU countries to intensively fight tax evasion. According to Weekers it is a topical theme "especially in a time when everyone is asked to tighten their belts."