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Netherlands Antilles Cooperates In Tax Crackdown

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Dutch Ministry of Finance has said that the Netherlands Antilles will cooperate with third countries’ tax authorities in the fight against tax evasion.

The operation, the Ministry said, will involve an investigation of Dutch taxpayers’ funds that were allegedly deposited in anonymous Institution Private Pension Funds (IPPFs) in the Antilles. The announcement follows the dissolution of a large number of these trusts after the Netherlands government passed a new ‘Succession Law’, which made mandatory the declaration of assets held in IPPFs.

Announcing the move, Netherlands State Secretary, Jan Kees De Jager, stated: “The Tax Department is currently conducting an in-depth investigation to see whether there are any attempts to hide assets from the Inland Revenue Service following the adoption of the new Succession Law”. To facilitate its investigation, the government has requested data from the Antillean Tax Department and from Dutch banks based on the islands, he added.

The government also announced on June 6 that a team of Dutch and Antillean tax inspectors are to conduct a joint investigation into new information, shared with Dutch authorities by the German government, regarding 22 foundations held by Dutch taxpayers in Liechtenstein, which was purchased by the German government. “The information received from Germany, discloses the owner of the Stiftung (Foundation) and how it is managed. In the meantime, legal proceedings have been instituted against this group,” the government’s statement explained.

The government also intends in the short-term to increase the minimum fine by 30%. This follows the introduction of a maximum penalty of 300% following an investigation by the government's tax investigation unit. The government in May offered taxpayers the opportunity to disclose funds under a tax amnesty, and appears to be encouraging taxpayers with outstanding tax liabilities to reach for the carrot by sharpening the stick.