Dutch say will lead EU fight against multinationals' tax avoidance

Friday 15 January 2016 10.57
'If the Netherlands has been part of the problem in the past, we want to be part of the solution from now on'
'If the Netherlands has been part of the problem in the past, we want to be part of the solution from now on'

The Netherlands will be at the forefront of efforts to combat multinationals' tax avoidance, its finance minister has said.

The comments come amid a dispute with the European Commission over his country's tax treatment of Starbucks. 

The Commission, the EU's executive arm, will propose a new set of binding rules by the end of January to curb corporate tax avoidance, stepping up its pressure on multinationals which stand accused of paying too little tax.

"If the Netherlands has been part of the problem in the past, we want to be part of the solution from now on," Jeroen Dijsselbloem said. 

He was speaking ahead of a meeting of European Union finance ministers that he chairs because his country holds the rotating presidency of the bloc. 

In October, the EU Commission ordered the Netherlands to recover €20-30m in back taxes from the US coffee shop chain.

The Dutch appealed against that decision because they want full clarity on the standards that need to be applied on tax deals struck between public authorities and corporations, Dijsselbloem said. 

Brussels has also ruled that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles benefited from illegal tax deals in Luxembourg and that 35 corporations got unfair tax advantages in Belgium. 

The Commission is investigating the tax arrangements of Apple in Ireland and Amazon in Luxembourg.