BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The Netherlands will be at the forefront of efforts to combat multinationals’ tax avoidance, its finance minister said on Friday, 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 told reporters ahead of a meeting of European Union finance ministers that he chairs because his country holds the rotating presidency of the bloc. [nL8N12X3IK]
In October, the EU Commission ordered the Netherlands to recover 20 million to 30 million euros ($23 million to $34 million) in back taxes from the U.S. 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 Amazon in Luxembourg and Apple in Ireland.