(The New York Times) --The Netherlands wants you to know that it is not a tax haven. But Menno Snel, the country’s No. 2 finance official, grudgingly acknowledges that the Dutch have become experts at something else: aggressive tax planning.
That’s backed up by the amount of money pouring across its borders. For tax avoidance purposes, the Netherlands offers the respectability and safety of a European country, while allowing big multinationals, like Google and Ikea, to move global profits through Dutch subsidiaries, drastically lowering their tax payments.
The atrium of the Dutch Finance Ministry, where Mr. Snel works, is even adorned with full-grown potted palms that give it a whiff of a tropical tax haven. The suggestion of any parallel is probably unintentional.
In any case, the Dutch position as a tax avoidance center could be about to change. In a major reversal, the Finance Ministry this week submitted proposals to Parliament that would shut down the benefits that made the Netherlands a magnet for international corporations — especially American ones, like Netflix, Nike and Uber. Debate on the measures is expected to continue through December.