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Netherlands: Automatic Exchange of Tax Rulings

(Apr. 12, 2016) The State Secretary for Finance of the Netherlands, Eric Wiebes, issued Letter No. AFP 16/319 M on April 1, 2016, containing answers to questions raised by Members of the Dutch House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) about the automatic exchange of information on tax rulings with European Union Member States. The matter was raised pursuant to the adoption in late 2015 of a EU directive amending the 2011 Directive on Administrative Cooperation in the Field of Taxation.  (Marnix Schellekens, Netherlands: State Secretary Answers Questions Regarding Automatic Exchange of Rulings, TAX NEWS SERVICE (Apr. 4 2016), International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation online subscription database; Ministry of Finance, Betreft Vragen over automatische uitwisseling van rulings [Questions on the Automatic Exchange of Rulings] (Apr. 1, 2016), No. AFP 16/319, Government of the Netherlands website.)

The amended Directive calls for EU Member States to adopt and publish by the end of 2016 any laws, regulations, and administrative provisions necessary to comply with its provisions and to apply those new measures from January 1, 2017. (Council Directive (EU) 2015/2376 of 8 December 2015 Amending Directive 2011/16/EU as Regards Mandatory Automatic Exchange of Information in the Field of Taxation, 2015 OJ (L 332) 1, art. 2(1) ¶¶ 1 &2, EUR-LEX; Council Directive 2011/16/EU of 15 February 2011 on Administrative Cooperation in the Field of Taxation and Repealing Directive 77/799/EEC, 2011 O.J. (L 64) 1, EUR-LEX.)

According to Letter AFP 16/319:

  • legislation implementing in Dutch law the new rulings on the mutual, automatic exchange of tax rulings among Member States will be submitted to the Dutch parliament in 2016;
  • exchange of information will take place retroactively on some specific past rulings, i.e. ones issued, renewed, or amended after January 1, 2012 (and before April 1, 2016), with respect to taxpayers with a minimum worldwide revenue of €40 million (about US$45.6 million), before January 1, 2018;
  • the information exchanged will be in the English language, and brief summaries in English will be provided in cases where more information is requested, but any attachments and the ruling itself will most likely be in Dutch; and
  • individual taxpayers will not be informed of the fact that information on a ruling concerning them has been exchanged, but according to the Minister it is clear which categories of information on rulings will be automatically exchanged because the categories are mentioned in the Directive and will be incorporated into national law. (Schellekens, supra; Betreft Vragen over automatische uitwisseling van rulings, supra.)