Dutch ports undergo fiscal probe


Five ports in the Netherlands are undergoing an in-depth investigation by the European Commission for the fiscal benefits accorded to them, the Dutch Financieele Dagblad  reported recently.

The ports in Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Zeeland, Groningen and Moerdijk are exempt from corporation tax, a state of affairs that EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said was not fair on other European ports.

Almunia said: “Fair competition is crucial for everyone. The commission needs to see that public companies in the Netherlands, such as ports, are not being given an advantage to the detriment of private companies.'

Last May, Almunia asked the Netherlands to stop the tax benefits for certain public companies. The Dutch government said it had the 'intention' of doing so but with exceptions – which included the five ports.

Almunia added: “The commission has begun an in-depth investigation with an eye on the fact that the Dutch authorities have not fully accepted the measures imposed to comply with the EU's competition law.”

According to the report, the commission is also looking into the fiscal arrangements of ports in France, Belgium and Germany.

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