No secret tax deals between Dutch royals and gov't: report
There are no secret tax agreements between the Royal House and the State, the Van Baalen committee concluded after almost a year of investigation into reports that the government in the 70s made a secret deal with the Royals about an extra compensation for taxes on the royal estate. "There was no secret deal", Carla van Baalen, professor of parliamentary history and committee leader, wrote in a 296 page report, NOS reports.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte asked Van Baalen and a number of other historians to find out exactly what was agreed between the Royal House and the De Jong cabinet about the income of Queen Juliana and her family. This followed reports by RTL Nieuws which, based on documents from the National Archives, stated that secret agreements were made in the early 1970s about financial compensation for the head of state. RTL reported that this secret agreement is still in place and that King Willem-Alexander still benefits from it.
The committee found no sign of such secret agreements. "Nothing in the documents studied shows that there was a specific compensation scheme - or in the words of RTL Nieuws: a 'secret tax deal' - for the adverse consequences of taxation", the committee writes, according to NOS. The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, was also properly informed.
Van Baalen and her fellow researchers also state that the discussions between the Royal House and the De Jong cabinet were very complicated and took years to complete.
The politicians of the time wanted to record in the Constitution that from then on the Royals no longer have to pay the costs they incurred largely from their own pocket, but that the state would take care of these costs. This firstly gave the state much better control of the King or Queen's expenses. And it prevented the Royal ruler becoming 'too poor', putting his or her independence at risk.
A condition was added to the annual amount of 500 thousand guilders the head of state received - the Royals have to pay taxes like all other Dutch. Not on the income they receive from the state, but on their private assets.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte will respond to this report later this afternoon, according to NOS.