Dutch reconsider dividends tax post-Unilever

The coalition government in the Netherlands is to re-consider proposals to scrap the country’s tax on dividends, which were intended to make it a more attractive destination for foreign companies, in light of Unilever’s U-turn on plans to relocate its headquarters from London to Rotterdam

At a press conference following Unilever’s announcement it had bowed to shareholder pressure to retain its UK presence, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said: ‘We did not take this measure just for one company. But Unilever’s decision today should, of course, be taken into account, and that is a reason to agree to look again.’

The cabinet is now to review its corporate tax plan, a process which will take several weeks.

Of the four-party coalition only one group, the Christian Democrats, has been in favour of getting rid of the 15% dividend tax, a measure which was intended to attract foreign businesses and keep multinationals in the Netherlands. It was not included in any party’s manifesto.

Earlier estimates suggested the controversial decision to scrap the tax on dividends could cost the economy up to €2bn (£1.76bn) a year. It was set to be implemented within 18 months.

The coalition under Rutte is regarded as fragile as it has just a one-seat majority in the Dutch parliament.

Report by Pat Sweet

Pat Sweet |Reporter, Accountancy Daily [2010-2021]

Pat Sweet was the former online reporter at Accountancy Daily and contributor to the monthly Accountancy magazine, pub...

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