The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) is an independent, not-for-profit research and network organisation
working on social, ecological and economic issues related to sustainable
development. Since 1973, the organisation investigates multinational
corporations and the consequences of their activities for people and the
environment around the world. More...
The Netherlands serves as a conduit country for international tax dodging. A central element of this fiscal policy is the country’s extensive tax treaty network. Double taxation treaties or agreements (DTAs) often lower corporate tax rates and help companies to shift profits from operating countries to tax havens. The new SOMO report ‘Should the Netherlands sign tax treaties with developing countries?’ shows that Dutch DTAs lead to huge revenue losses in developing countries because they reduce taxation on passive income. This is in contradiction to the Dutch government’s policy coherence for development.
The 2012 UN Guiding Principles (UNGP) guide is now also available in Spanish.
Developing countries miss out on at least 460 million euros in tax revenues a year via letterbox companies in the Netherlands. This was shown in research performed by Oxfam Novib, SOMO and Oikos.
‘In conflict-affected areas it is of vital importance to monitor multinational corporations operating there and to support local communities who are impacted by these corporations,’ states SOMO researcher Mark van Dorp. ‘Particularly in conflict-affected countries, corporations can inflict great damage because of the lack of a functioning government and of civil society.’ This is why SOMO has initiated the ‘Multinational Corporations in Conflict-Affected Areas’ programme, and recently took part in the conference organised by the Knowledge Platform on Security & Rule of Law.
Large-scale tax evasion by multinationals, and the role being played by the Netherlands as a tax haven in this context, has received considerable attention from the media and from NGOs in the past year. Nonetheless, the subject now appears to have reached its cut-off point for the media: they seem to think that the general public cannot understand more detailed information than provided so far in news articles – that is, in a limited number of words. At least that was the opinion of the journalists who were present at the second edition of the Tax Research Seminar organised by SOMO on 24 April.