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Dutch tax avoidance crackdown sparks debate

A Dutch initiative to crack down on tax avoidance by multinational corporations is being fiercely resisted by the business community, with the American Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands warning it could drive US corporations to move their European headquarters out of the country...This month the Netherlands responded to rising criticism with a plan to tighten conditions for so-called letterbox companies, shell companies that multinationals establish largely for tax purposes. The proposal includes an offer to renegotiate Dutch tax treaties with 23 developing countries, which tax justice advocates say lose out on huge amounts of revenue through tax avoidance...Wouter Paardekooper, a partner at Baker & McKenzie who heads the tax committee of American group, said the new plan introduces uncertainty that will hurt the Dutch investment climate. “There are companies with major regional headquarters here with investments in Africa,” Mr Paardekooper said. “[Their] consideration as to whether we should go ahead in the Netherlands, or should make future investments somewhere else, is not well served by this [offer].”