'Multinationals in the Netherlands have many ways to lower tax burden'
A report by interest group Tax Justice Network shows that the Netherlands is still one of the most attractive countries for companies when it comes to tax: we hold a dubious fourth position on a list of seventy coutries. In Dutch magazine Vrij Nederland Jan Vleggeert, Professor of Tax Law, explains how this has come about.
'Multinationals in the Netherlands have indeed all kinds of ways to lower their tax burden’, says Vleggeert in the interview. 'Ordinary citizens don’t have that possibility. So, yes, the outrage is understandable.' Vleggeert was once a tax adviser who helped companies to pay as little tax as possible, but ten years ago he opted for an academic career. 'I thought: is this the work I want to look back on later? So I made a radical switch.'
Vleggeert believes that the situation got out of balance in the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2008. 'To keep the banks going, the government pumped an enormous amount of money into the financial industry. This led to taxes ultimately being raised, and citizens were the ones who dutifully paid up. But a time came – around 2013 – when people began to ask: But what about big companies – shouldn’t they be paying more?'