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Shell admits paying no Dutch income tax: zilch, zero

English translation of a Dutch article by…

Shell confirms: no income tax paid in the Netherlands

Shell does not pay income tax in the Netherlands. Earlier reports about this in the media are correct, say Dutch Marjan van Loon and executive vice-president taxation Alan McLean this week in Elsevier Weekblad.

Although Shell Nederland makes an annual profit – in 2016 and 2017 respectively 1 and 1.3 billion euros – the company is on balance loss-making “as a natural consequence of the Dutch tax system,” says McLean in Elsevier Weekblad. He and Van Loon say that Shell “fairly pays taxes in the Netherlands, both in the letter and in the spirit of the law”.

The Netherlands has consciously created a multinational-friendly regime

Van Loon and McLean point out in the interview that the Netherlands has consciously created a tax regime that is friendly to multinationals. That offers multinationals with an international head office in the Netherlands, such as Shell, numerous possibilities to “deduct a lot of costs here that we incur for our international head office here,” McLean said.

As a result, the Shell Nederland fiscal unity ended up in losses in 2018 and in the preceding years, so it did not have to pay corporation tax, as the profit tax is officially called.

Tax details about Shell leaked out that are private

It is the first time that the Shell top publications confirm the publications of daily newspaper Trouw from the end of November last year. Van Loon and McLean are shocked in the interview in Elsevier Weekblad that confidential information from the tax authorities has leaked to the newspaper.

Van Loon: “What I didn’t like is that tax details about Shell leak out that are just as private as your medical record.” The company considered making a declaration, but eventually abandoned it.

It must also be about the benefits of the tax regime

McLean is participating on behalf of Shell on Wednesday 29 May in a “round table discussion” in the House of Representatives that is devoted to the subject of “taxation of multinationals”. Other multinationals that have agreed to come are AkzoNobel and Philips.

Van Loon and McLean say they have no objections to a political discussion about the multinational-friendly tax regime in the Netherlands. But that debate should also be about the many benefits that this regime has for the treasury and the national economy.


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