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The Exchange of Tax Information Portal is an initiative of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes. The Global Forum conducts peer reviews of its member jurisdictions' ability to co-operate with other tax administrations in accordance with the internationally agreed standard. The standard provides for exchange of information on request where it is foreseeably relevant to the administration and enforcement of the domestic tax laws of the requesting jurisdiction. Effective exchange of information requires that jurisdictions ensure information is available, that it can be obtained by the tax authorities and that there are mechanisms in place allowing for the exchange of that information. The Global Forum's peer review process examines both the legal and regulatory aspects of exchange (Phase 1 reviews) and the exchange of information in practice (Phase 2). The EOI Portal will track the development of these peer reviews, including changes that jurisdictions make in response to the Global Forum's recommendations.

Peer Review: Combined Phase 1 + 2 Peer Review - Netherlands

This report for Netherlands has been published on 26 Oct 2011. You can buy this report, or browse it online below.

Skip directly to the Executive Summary. You may also want to view the tables of determinations and ratings.


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Determinations and Recommendations

Jurisdictions should ensure that ownership and identity information for all relevant entities and arrangements is available to their competent authorities. (ToR A.1)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place, but certain aspects of the legal implementation of the element need improvement.   Information on foreign partners of a limited partnership who are not earning income from the Netherlands or Caribbean Netherlands may not be available to tax authorities in the Netherlands or Caribbean Netherlands .  It is recommended that an obligation be established for limited partnerships in the Netherlands and the Caribbean Netherlands to keep identity information concerning all of their limited partners. 
There are some bearer shares in circulation in the Netherlands at present, but there are insufficient mechanisms in place that ensure the availability of information allowing for identification of the owners of bearer shares in companies limited by shares. There are insufficient mechanisms in place in the Caribbean Netherlands that ensure the availability of information on the owners of bearer shares.  The Netherlands should take necessary measures to ensure that mechanisms are in place to identify the owners of bearer shares in the Netherlands and in the Caribbean Netherlands, or should eliminate such bearer instruments. 
Foundations in the Netherlands and the Caribbean Netherlands are not systematically required to keep identity information concerning all beneficiaries.  An obligation should be established in both the Netherlands and the Caribbean Netherlands for foundations to keep identity information concerning all beneficiaries. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Largely Compliant.     
Jurisdictions should ensure that reliable accounting records are kept for all relevant entities and arrangements. (ToR A.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.   The precise nature of the accounting records and underlying documents to be maintained with respect to foreign trusts which have a trustee in the Netherlands or Caribbean Netherlands are not specified in law.  It is recommended that the nature of the accounting records and underlying documents to be maintained with respect to foreign trusts which have a trustee in the Netherlands or Caribbean Netherlands be clearly outlined. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.     
Banking information should be available for all account-holders. (ToR A.3)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.     
Competent authorities should have the power to obtain and provide information that is the subject of a request under an exchange of information arrangement from any person within their territorial jurisdiction who is in possession or control of such information (irrespective of any legal obligation on such person to maintain the secrecy of the information). (ToR B.1)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.   The scope of professional privilege in tax matters is not clear in the Netherlands and appears to extend beyond that provided for in the international standards.  It is recommended that the Netherlands clarify the scope of professional privilege for the purpose of the exchange of information in tax matters, to ensure it is consistent with the international standard. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.     
The rights and safeguards (e.g. notification, appeal rights) that apply to persons in the requested jurisdiction should be compatible with effective exchange of information. (ToR B.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Largely Compliant.  The notification and appeal process takes on average 10 to 18 weeks to complete before information is provided to the requesting jurisdiction.  The process for notification and appeal should be reviewed with a view to ensuring that it is compatible with effective international exchange of information in tax matters. 
Exchange of information mechanisms should provide for effective exchange of information. (ToR C.1)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.   18 of the Netherlands’ 114 agreements providing for international exchange of information in tax matters, in particular some older agreements, do not provide for exchange information to the international standard. Only one of the 22 agreements covering the Caribbean Netherlands does not provide for exchange information to the international standard.  It is recommended that the Netherlands continues its program of renegotiating its older treaties with main trading partners to bring them in line with the international standard. 
Of the 28 information exchange agreements and 7 protocols concluded since January 2009, to date 23 have entered into force. In the Caribbean Netherlands, 12 out of 22 agreements are not yet ratified by the Netherlands.  The Netherlands should ensure the expeditious ratification of all signed EOI arrangements. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Largely Compliant.     
The jurisdictions' network of information exchange mechanisms should cover all relevant partners. (ToR C.2)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.     The Netherlands should continue to develop its EOI network with all relevant partners and upgrade already existing treaties. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.     
The jurisdictions' mechanisms for exchange of information should have adequate provisions to ensure the confidentiality of information received. (ToR C.3)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.     
The exchange of information mechanisms should respect the rights and safeguards of taxpayers and third parties. (ToR C.4)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The element is in place.   The Netherlands’ tax treaties do not define the term “professional secret “and the scope of the term “professional secret “under the domestic laws of the Netherlands is not clearly consistent with the international standard.  It is recommended that the Netherlands restrict the scope of the protection under the term “professional secret “in its domestic laws so as to be in line with the standard for the purpose of agreements for exchange of information. 
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.     
The jurisdiction should provide information under its network of agreements in a timely manner. (ToR C.5)
Determination Factors Recommendations
The assessment team is not in a position to evaluate whether this element is in place, as it involves issues of practice that are dealt with in the Phase 2 review.      
Phase 2 Rating Factors Recommendations
Compliant.  The Netherlands is often not able to respond within 90 days to international requests for information in tax matters and only recently began systematically providing status updates to the requesting parties.  The Netherlands should ensure that its authorities respond to EOI requests in a timely manner, by providing the information requested within 90 days of receipt of the request, or if it has been unable to do so, to provide a status update.