Report: Tax office has no idea how many sweetheart deals exist

The Tax Authorities have no idea how many sweetheart tax deals have been made with Dutch companies or how much money is involved in such deals. So-called tax rulings and other agreements are made by inspectors and are only noted in individual files, an overview does not exist. Agreements with companies also fall under "fiscal confidentiality".

This is the answer the Volkskrant received on its request for an overview on such deals under the Freedom of Information Act. The newspaper requested this information following the controversial - and secret - deal between the Tax Authorities and PostNL on the use of freelancers.

PvdA Parliamentarian Ed Groot told the newspaper that it is "crazy" that the inspectors does not have to consult with the Ministry when making such deals. CDA Parliamentarian Pieter Omtzigt pointed out that Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem and State Secretary Eric Wiebes have already agreed to automatically exchange all rulings made with medium and large businesses every six months from January 1st,2017. If they were planning to do that, the Tax Authorties should already be making a list of the agreements, he feels.

Earlier this week, the European Commission reprimanded the Netherlands for a sweetheart tax deal made with American coffee company Starbucks. The Commission found that the deal amounted to illegal State Aid. Starbucks now has to pay the Netherlands between 20 and 30 million euros in back taxes.