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The hunt for foreign assets continues

04 april 2017

FIOD raids

On Friday, March 31, 2017, Dutch media paid a lot of attention to the raids of the Dutch tax authorities investigation service (FIOD) with alleged tax evaders and Credit Suisse offices. This shows that the FIOD has information on 3,800 Dutch citizens who have savings at Credit Suisse in Switzerland. The FIOD raided on Thursday, March 30th, 2017 in the Dutch cities of The Hague, Hoofddorp, Zwolle and Venlo. The tax investigation authorities collaborated with investigation authorities from other countries. However, Switzerland is not involved and, according to the media, reacted furiously.

 

The FIOD raids and the arrest of two alleged tax evaders in this matter are noteworthy. It means that criminal investigations have started against some alleged tax evaders. It is also remarkable that the press release again mentions the possibility to report foreign assets to the tax authorities under the voluntary disclosure scheme.

 

To start a criminal prosecution for tax evasion a tax loss of € 100,000 or more (AAFD protocol of June 25, 2015, BLKB2015-572) is required. The 18th half-year report of the Dutch Tax Authorities shows that the average yield (i.e. the tax disadvantage) of a voluntary disclosure is € 60,000 (including fine). Nevertheless, experience shows that similar cases are prosecuted for money laundering, in which case other criteria for prosecution apply. In the case of a debit card and credit card project for example the criterion was a transaction sum of € 50,000. However, it is noted again that having a foreign bank account as such is not considered sufficient to establish money laundering (Court Amsterdam, November 25, 2015, ECLI: NL: RBAMS: 2015: 8340).

 

These FIOD raids and the use of criminal prosecution, together with the start of a campaign against alleged tax evaders, is very arbitrary, especially since the other 3,798 Credit Suisse bank account holders are specifically referred to the voluntary disclosure scheme. They can still achieve a tax settlement when paying the evaded taxes and a hefty fine.

 

UBO register (register of Ultimate Beneficial Owners)

 

In this regard, we inform you that on March 31, 2017, the consultation version of the proposed bill on the UBO register was also published (www.internetconsultatie.nl). We will discuss this bill within the coming weeks. For now we would like to remark that the so-called “contoured letter” has been followed, which stated that a number of details of UBO's as well as other data in the Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel) will be made accessible to everyone (proposed Article 21 Handelsregisterwet (Business Register Law)). What can or should you do about this record? The UBO can request the Chamber of Commerce to shield UBO information when exposed to a risk of fraud, kidnapping, blackmail, violence or intimidation, minority or incapacity

 

The decision of the Chamber of Commerce is a decision within the meaning of Article 1: 3 Awb (General Administrative Law Act) and open to objection and appeal. During this procedure, data are not publicly available. For institutions that are obliged to report unusual transactions (Wwft regulations) this legislation will create a new obligation to report. If there is reasonable doubt as to the veracity of the UBO data in the Business Register, the institution is obliged to report it to the Chamber of Commerce. It is punishable to act contrary the Business Register Law and Wwft regulations under the Economic Offenses Act (WED). Given the international importance of this UBO register, this matter will surely be under some discussion.