Documents on abolition of dividend tax exist, despite government's denials: report

Mark Rutte
Mark Rutte. Photo: Nia Palli / Wikimedia Commons

During the government formation, documents were drawn up about the controversial abolition of the dividend tax - tax companies pay on profits paid out to shareholders, the Ministry of Finance confirmed to Trouw. Previously Prime Minster Mark Rutte said that the party leaders do not recall the existence of such documents, NU.nl reports.

The Ministry of Finances refuses to make the documents public, Trouw writes.

Two reaserchers from the University of Amsterdam tried to request information about the abolition of the divident tax through the Freedom of Information Act. The rejection they received shows that, at the request of negotiating parties VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie, documents on the abolition were drawn up by officials from the Ministry of Finance. 

The public information file about the Rutte III government formation does not contain any documents relating to the abolition of the divident tax. Opposition parties previously asked for memos on this topic. D66 leader Alexander Pechtold then said that if such memos existed, they would be in the public file. ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers also said that he did not remember anything about such a memo.

The abolition of the divident tax raised many questions among the opposition parties. The measure will cost the government around 1.4 billion euros annually from 2020. Some opposition parties believe that this measure is mainly a gesture to foreign shareholders, because Dutch investors can settle this tax with the tax authorities.

The coalition parties argue that this measure is good for employment, but according to opposition parties, there is no substantiation for that statement. The government also said that through this measure, companies can more easily attract their own capital from abroad and thus become more resilient to hostile takeovers.

During a parliamentary debate in November, Prime Minister Mark Rutte vehemently opposed a request to make all policy documents public. "If everything is made public, you can't run the country", he said back then, according to NU.nl. "If we deviate from the agreements that we did and did not make in the file, we can no longer have a cabinet formation."

On Friday morning GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver asked for another debate with the Prime Minister. "At first the coaition claimed that nothing existed. We live in a democracy and these documents should be made public", he said. 

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