The Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte was forced to unwrap documents relating to his government’s intention to scrap dividend tax for foreign investors.
On Monday he promised the release of these documents.
Rutte’s decision comes largely as a result of a campaign launched by two academics insisting in the release of documents linked to government negotiations and held by the ministry of finance.
The government initially refused to publish these documents evoking the “confidentiality” of coalition talks for the formation of a government in November 2017. Until last Friday, prime minister Rutte had “no recollection” that such documents existed.
On Monday Rutte’s memory was revived and the Dutch prime minister said he would make a “one-off” exception to the rule of maintaining confidentiality in coalition talks. Rutte’s policy shift comes as the newspaper Telegraaf published two memos sent by the prime minister to the finance minister Eric Wiebes.
The price tag of scrapping the dividend tax will be €1.4bn and is expected to come into force in 2020, the public news agency NOS reports.
The Netherlands is already named and shamed by the European Commission as one of the seven EU member states that is aggressively facilitating tax avoidance. The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Lodewijk Asscher, accused the prime minister of lying. The opposition maintains that secrecy is linked to threats by multinationals such as Shell and Unilever to move their headquarters. In March, Unilever opted to move its headquarters from London to Rotterdam.