Netherlands is Europe's biggest tax haven says Oxfam Novib
The Netherlands is the biggest tax haven in the European Union and the third biggest in the world, according to Oxfam Novib's list of the 15 biggest tax havens in the world. Worldwide, only Bermuda and the Cayman Islands are ranked higher on the development organization's list, NOS reports.
Other EU countries in the top 15 list include Switzerland on 4th place, Ireland in 6th and Luxembourg on 7th position. Curacao is the 8th biggest tax haven in the world. And the British Virgin Islands made it to 15th place.
According to Oxfam Novib, the countries on this list have no or very low corporate tax rates, give unfair tax incentives to businesses and do not participate in international measures against tax evasion. Oxfam Novib also accuse the countries on the list of increasing the inequality between countries - developing countries miss out on billions in tax revenues through the large scale-tax evasion.
The development organization call on governments to work together in the fight against tax evasion and to stop lowering corporate tax rates. Oxfam Novib also wants to require companies to be more transparent in their workings.
In the Netherlands it involves more than 25 billion euros in misplaced profits from American multinationals, tax expert Esme Berkhout, who helped with the Oxfam Novib report, said to NOS. "The profits of the multinationals is totally out of proportion to their actual presence in the country. They make use of mailbox companies", she said. These letterbox firms often don't even have any staff. It is a subsidiary company based abroad usually specifically for tax advantages.
Oxfam Novib's ranking on the 15 biggest tax havens in the world:
- Cayman Islands
- Hong Kong
- The British Virgin Islands
Last week a European report also accused the Netherlands of still making secret tax deals with multinational companies, even after the European Commission ruled that a sweetheart tax deal with Starbucks was illegal state aid and ordered the Netherlands to collect 26 million euros in back taxes from the American coffee chain. The Netherlands appealed this ruling and a trial is currently ongoing in the European Court.