Dutch Lower House rejects EU proposal to tax internet companies

Thursday 17 May 2018 | 15:37 CET | News

The Dutch Lower House of Parliament does not agree with the European approach of taxing large internet companies such as Google, Apple or Facebook. A majority believe that tax policies should remain in the hands of national member states, reports Het Financieele Dagblad. With this position, Parliament supports countries such as Ireland, Luxembourg and Malta in their fight against the introduction of European taxes for internet groups.

The European Commission announced proposals in March to increase the tax levied on digital services such as online advertising. As a 'provisional measure', large companies would have to pay a 3 percent tax on revenue from such services in the EU. In the longer term, EU members would be able to tax service profits should they exceed a certain threshold.

The proposal followed repeated calls from EU countries such as France and Italy, which want online companies such as Google and Facebook to pay more taxes. In recent years, many US tech giants have been finding ways to reduce paying taxes in Europe.

EU proposals rejected

A majority of members at parties VVD, PVV, SP, Party for the Animals, SGP, Forum for Democracy and 50Plus have rejected these European proposals. State Secretary for Finance Menno Snel had previously indicated she wanted to contribute to a European approach. In the coming negotiations, Snel will have to take into account the position of the parties in Dutch Parliament. The European Parliament has agreed to the tax plans.

At the end of April, at a meeting of the Member States in Bulgaria, it became clear that some EU member states were opposed to the European Commission's proposal to impose a new sales tax on providers of digital services, such as Google and Facebook. Several Member States called for a solution through the OECD, which has led previous efforts to more effectively tax multinationals.

The main opponents of digital taxation are the UK, which is leaving the EU and will benefit from the OECD solution, and a number of smaller states that have benefited from internet investments. These include Malta, Luxembourg and Ireland. Scandinavian countries Denmark, Lithuania, Finland and Sweden also oppose the tax. The Commission will have to reconsider its proposals if a third of all parliaments in the EU turn their back on the idea.

The Netherlands is a 'tax haven' again

According to the FD, the Netherlands is again in danger of getting listed as a tax haven in the EU. That turned out to be the case earlier because Google used the Netherlands to move profits. The Dutch government has indicated that it wants to get rid of this image.

Parliament says it may take a while for an agreement to come out of the OECD, the organisation of 35 industrialized countries. The EC has already indicated negotiations with the US will take a long time. That was the reason the Dutch government wanted to come out with its own proposal.

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Categories: General
Companies: Apple / Europese Commissie / Facebook / Google / Telecompaper
Countries: Europe / Netherlands
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