#19: The Netherlands discards voluntary disclosure?

The (demissionairy) state secretary of finance announced on 12 July 2017 that he wants to discard the voluntary disclosure from 2018 onwards. This announcement follows his letter to the government of 17 January 2017 in which the next steps in the ‘fight against fraud’ were announced. We refer to Lawlunch #13 for the announced measures. To keep you posted on the recent developments we will raise some legal questions which arise following these measures. Will the voluntary disclosure for instance be completely discarded from the law? And will it also affect the possibility of voluntary disclosure in order to avoid criminal prosecution for tax fraud?READ MORE

#16: Fishing expeditions, or not?

Transparency is a keyword these days. The banking secrecy is something that belongs to the past. All over the world information is exchanged between countries and tax authorities in order to counteract tax evasion. Also in the Netherlands, the Dutch Tax Authorities have intensified their efforts to prevent tax evasion. However, it is up for debate whether these authorities are overreaching their powers. In this article we take a closer look at two recent cases in which the Dutch Tax Authorities pushed the limits in their attempt to receive information from UBS and American Express by submitting information requests to foreign tax authorities. Although the Courts in these two cases allowed the information exchange, we have some critical notes.READ MORE

#04: The pressure is On

The general opinion nowadays in de media is that tax evasion and tax friendly structures are one and the same as tax fraud. It is the common opinion that it is morally reprehensible. The recent publications about the Panama Papers are a confirmation for those who are of this opinion. However, the publications do not show whether the involved persons and entities actually hid their wealth or whether they were not transparent about it towards the tax authorities or even had to be. Nonetheless their names are mentioned in the newspapers and all over the internet. Without knowing the complete facts about the actual tax behavior of these persons this is naming and shaming in its purest form. For governments and tax authorities who are in ‘the fight against tax fraud’ the deterrent effect of naming and shaming seems to be a welcome tool to further break down – the usage of – the banking secrecy. In the past years the European banking secrecy has been attacked on various occasions. We will go in to the recent developments of the strive of the Dutch tax authorities against ‘hidden’ foreign bank accounts of Dutch tax payers in for instance Switzerland.READ MORE