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The Netherlands’ reputation as a tax haven is alive and well

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Last year, The Guardian wrote a column on how the Netherlands is a tax haven for multinationals. In fact, if you Google ‘Netherlands’ and words like ‘tax avoidance’ or ‘tax haven’, you’ll see how gladly the country enables companies like Amazon, Google and Starbucks.

Back in 2002 Portugal got pissed when they calculated the insane amount of money they were losing to the Netherlands, while Dutch telly pointed out that “empty shell corporations pump 8,000 billion euro through the Netherlands”.

It’s bad enough the country’s 16.5 million residents have to deal with explaining themselves when it comes to prostitution and drugs, what we could do without is having to explain why our government wants to be the whore and pusher of corporations. Grab a hot beverage and read The central role of Dutch financing companies in tax avoidance strategies.

In the Netherlands, complex tax law constructions apparently allow companies to show losses in one or more countries to pay taxes at a lower rate in another. While most of it is probably legal, like many capitalist constructions, it screws billions of people over around the world. And the Netherlands thinks that’s ethically fine for some reason.

If you want more information, this is also a nice read from the Netherlands Comparative Law Association. The conclusion says a lot: “The Netherlands has a long-standing tradition of providing tools to address tax avoidance.”

1 Comment »

  1. It’s a good thing we can be blasé about this now. Earlier in the century the very idea would have been quite shocking.

    http://vorige.nrc.nl/international/article2232958.ece/Netherlands_surprised_at_Obama_tax_haven_slur

    Comment by chris — November 14, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

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