Netherlands opposes UN international tax framework

Netherlands warns against UN international tax cooperation framework

The Dutch State Secretary of Finance, Marnix van Rij, has expressed the government’s concerns regarding the recent UN resolution to establish an international tax cooperation framework.

Last month, the UN Second Committee (Economic and Financial) approved draft resolution – introduced by a representative of Nigeria – on “Promotion of inclusive and effective international tax cooperation at the United Nations.”

In a December 5 letter written to the Lower House of Parliament, Van Rij said that the government is worried about the risk that work will be duplicated in this context. A Dutch Parliamentary committee had earlier asked for the government’s response to the UN resolution.

“Within the framework of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), much has been achieved in the field of transparency and exchange of information. The OECD/G20 base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) project has developed a comprehensive package of measures to combat tax avoidance and many of these measures have been implemented through a Multilateral Instrument (MLI),” the letter states.

The government called for an inquiry into whether additional international tax work can be done in a UN context.

The letter states: “The government does not yet see any added value in creating a negotiating forum alongside the BEPS Inclusive Framework that also focuses on international tax issues. This would mean that a comparable infrastructure would have to be set up at the UN-level. It would also place an additional burden on the already scarce capacity of many countries.”

Van Rij stated in the letter that the government does not agree that inclusiveness, especially of developing countries, is better assured in a UN context. “In the government’s opinion, the fact that more countries are members of the UN than of the BEPS Inclusive Framework does not sufficiently justify the consultations that are now taking place in the BEPS Inclusive Framework and in which all countries that wish to participate can also take place in a UN context,” he said.

Van Rij noted that the government believes that international tax law and policy is most meaningful when achieved through consensus.

“Insofar as the idea behind the resolution is that a different result than in the BEPS Inclusive Framework can be achieved thanks to the voting ratio at UN-level, the government does not share this idea,” he said in the letter.