mon 19 oct 2009 06:11:42 witte de withstraat
and what's all this about a belastingparadijs?
an episode of the tv show "zembla" explained how a lot of "multinationals", especially american companies, arrange to have their money earned here in NL. and they have special deals whereby they pay little or no tax here, and also not back home. the narrator kept saying that these "multinationals" located in holland because of the favorable tax climate. i'm thinking, what favorable tax climate? i'm a multinational, how come i don't get this preferntial tax treatment? but it turns out that by "multinational" he meant "big".
big companies, even dutch ones like shell and unilever, have special arrangements with the tax service. the country is losing untold billions each year, and it's always been so, but compared to ten years ago it's much much more, up in the tens of billions. the missing money has to be made up for by ordinary people, to the tune of a couple thousand extra per average household per year.
moreover, the tax arrangements are top secret. finance minister wouter bos supposedly knows the figures, but can't tell anybody. an anonymous source in the belastingdienst said that of the top fifteen companies in NL, ten of them pay no taxes at all.
an argument as to why this is acceptable, says that if those companies had to pay taxes they would leave this country and go, let's say, to the cayman islands. some people find that hard to believe too. in the cayman islands you don't have a big airport, fast internet and lots of infrastructure.
another thing i didn't realize, was that for a long time in ireland musicians paid a very tiny income tax, something like 3 percent. but then the irish government decided to change the rules. then U2 changed their official address to a building on the herengracht in amsterdam.