Many Netherlands small businesses use tax havens

Many Dutch small and medium sized businesses set up a company in a tax haven through a Panamanian intermediary. At least 200 offshore companies linked to the Netherlands were active at then end of 2015, Dutch newspaper Trouw reports based on investigation into the Panama Papers.

Having an offshore company in a tax haven is not illegal, as long as the stakeholders report their assets to the Tax authorities. It is unclear whether the customers of Panamanian company Mossack Fonseca, where the Panama Papers originated, did so.

According to Jan van Koningsveld, former inspector at the tax authorities' investigative department FIOD, Dutch businesses can hide much information from the tax authorities through tax structures run through, for example, the Virgin Islands. "A corporate partnership on the British Virgin Islands is exempt from tax. The result is that the local tax authority itself has little to no information, and can therefore only share limited information internationally."

Earlier on Tuesday the newspaper revealed that hundreds of Dutch are mentioned in the Panama Papers, including former football player Clarence Seedorf.