AmEx in crosshairs of Dutch tax fraud investigation
The American tax authorities IRS ordered American Express to hand over information about Dutch customers, Bloomberg reports. This was done at the request of the Netherlands, which suspects that some American Express credit card holders are engaged in tax evasion. AmEx has to hand over information about Dutch customers who had American Express cards linked to bank accounts outside the United States and outside the Netherlands between 2009 and 2016, according to the news service.
The Dutch authorities requested this information based on a treaty that allows the Netherlands and the United States to cooperate in the exchange of tax information, according to Bloomberg. In the United States this type of case is referred to as a 'John Doe summons', in which the tax authorities suspect that citizens aren't following tax laws, but don't know their names. Should the Dutch involved turn out to have hidden assets, they risk fines of up to three times the total of tax they owe, according to the Volkskrant.
The Netherlands already managed to get information on tax evaders' accounts from four other financial institutions, but up until now American Express refused to cooperate. The company declined to comment to Bloomberg on the matter.
The Dutch authorities are cracking down on tax evaders. Last week the Netherlands coordinated an international effort and raided properties in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, Germany, Great Britain and France. In the Netherlands tax investigation service FIOD raided homes and businesses in Zwolle, The Hague, Hoofddorp and Venlo, arresting two people and seizing administration, real estate, bank accounts, paintings and cars.
The investigation was launched following a tip in which FIOD received the names of 3,800 Dutch believed to have hidden assets. They were all clients at Credit Suisse. FIOD also received the names of 55 thousand foreigners, which were shared with investigators in Australia, Germany, France and Britain.