The tax agreements the Netherlands made with Starbucks are not equivalent to state aid, the European General Court ruled on Tuesday, annulling a previous ruling by the European Commission.
In the coming years the Netherlands plans to make itself a less attractive option for companies to establish shell companies in the country. The government is taking a number of measures to ban companies that only choose the Netherlands to avoid taxes at their home base.
The number 2 at the Finance Ministry, Menno Snel, wants to get rid of the image of the Netherlands as a place to dodge taxes. "The Netherlands is not a tax haven," he says. "We are going to make sure that the [business] constructions that were in the news are no longer possible."
The Netherlands should be on the European Union's blacklist of tax havens, according to development organization Oxfam Novib in a report. The EU is currently working on such a list, to get a clear picture on which countries 'refuse to play fair', and the expectation is that the Netherlands will not be on it, RTL Nieuws reports.
The EU list is expected to be presented in December. According to Oxfam, if the criteria for non-EU countries were also applied to the Netherlands, the country would definitely end up on the blacklist.
The Netherlands is still making secret tax deals with multinational companies, according to an European report on which Dutch research foundation SOMO worked. The Netherlands remains one of the ost important countries in Europe when it comes to tax evasion, the report states according to ANP.
Last year the Netherlands made 236 secret tax deals. That means that the country is 3rd in Europe in the number of secret tax deals made with multinationals last year. Only Belgium and Luxembourg made more.
The Netherlands collected 25.7 million euros in back tax from Starbucks, a spokesperson for the European Commission said on Monday. The back tax comes from a so-called sweetheart tax deal between Starbucks and the Dutch Tax Authorities, which the European Commission ruled to be illegal state aid last year
Starbucks is still using its so-called sweetheart tax agreement with the Netherlands, despite the European Commission ruling that it constitutes illegal state aid, Financieele Dagblad reports based on the most recent financial statements from Starbucks Manufacturing Amsterdam.
The Tax Authorities have no idea how many sweetheart tax deals have been made with Dutch companies or how much money is involved in such deals. So-called tax rulings and other agreements are made by inspectors and are only noted in individual files, an overview does not exist. Agreements with companies also fall under "fiscal confidentiality".
The judgement made by the European Commission over the Starbucks tax agreement could have far reaching consequence across the country, with nearly 15,000 such deals having already been made. Tax authorities have seen the period between 1991 and 2014 as the main problem era, with billions at stake.
The PvdA is "shocked" by the European Commissions ruling that the Netherlands' deal with multinational Starbucks amounts to illegal State aid. As far as the party is concerned, State Secretary Eric Wiebes of Finance has "a lot of explaining to do".
The European Commission has ruled that the sweetheart tax deal between Starbucks and the Dutch tax authorities amounts to illegal State aid. The government now has to recover between 20 and 30 million euros in back taxes from the multinational. The Dutch government has responded that they are "somewhat surprised" by the ruling and remain convinced that actual international standards were applied in crafting the law.
The European Commission has found the tax deal between the Dutch tax authorities and American coffee company Starbucks unlawful according to European rules.
A delegation from the European Parliament will be visiting the Netherlands in May for an investigation into the so-called sweetheart tax deals with multinationals like Starbucks.
The Tweede Kamer (lower house of parliament) will receive a confidential and technical briefing on the agreements made between the tax authorities and the United States coffee chain Starbucks, Secretary of State Eric Wiebes (Finance) promised today.
The Cabinet should inform the Second Chamber about what arrangements the Tax Service has made with multinationals. This is according to an opinion piece in the Volkskrant written by Jesse Klaver (GroenLinks), Arnold Merkies (SP,) Carola Schouten (ChristenUnie) and Pieter Omtzigt (CDA).
The European Commission has reasonable doubts about the tax deal between US coffee chain Starbucks and the Dutch tax authorities. The commission wants to make its concerns known this week.
Sources in Brussels report that the European Union may open investigations into the tax advantages that big companies enjoy in The Netherlands and Ireland as soon as next week, after a European Commission meeting on the issue on the 11th of June.