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Netherlands does not want to be seen as enabler of tax avoidance

Staff writer |
Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said the Netherlands wants to make as much progress as possible in clamping down on tax avoidance during its EU presidency, after criticism from the European Commission.

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The Dutch tax system has enabled some corporations to pay almost no taxation and that "was never the intention", he said.

The comments came in reaction to the EU Commission's decision last month on Starbucks, in which the Netherlands was ordered to recover 20 million to 30 million euros (14 million pounds to 22 million pounds) in back taxes from the U.S. coffee shop chain.

The government said it was "surprised" by the Commission's finding that its tax arrangement with Starbucks amounted to illegal state aid.

The government is "motivated to use the half year to make as much progress as possible and not wait until there is an international agreement", Dijsselbloem told the Foreign Press Association in The Hague.

The Netherlands has dual taxation treaties with nearly 100 countries that lower tax rates on profit, royalties and withholding tax. "The outcome has been in some cases that there was almost no taxation. That was never the intention and is not in the Dutch interest," Dijsselbloem said.


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