State Secretary Marnix van Rij (Finance) during a debate in the House of Representatives.Photo: ANP/Hollandse Hoogte/Laurens van Putten
No irregularities were found in the investigation into the tax treatment of Uber by the Dutch tax authorities. This is what State Secretary Marnix van Rij (Finance) says in his answer to parliamentary questions posed by GroenLinks, PvdA and the SP. These parties wondered whether the investigation paints a complete picture of the situation, since, according to them, the investigation only focused on the internal working methods at the Tax Authorities and no independent investigation has been carried out into Uber.
The parliamentary parties of GroenLinks, PvdA and the SP therefore wanted to know from State Secretary Marnix van Rij whether it would be better to supplement the investigation with source material and conversations at Uber. “No, I do not share this view”, says Van Rij in his answer. During the investigation, according to the CDA minister, correspondence with Uber and reports of international consultations were also examined.
“In the context of the allegations of Uber’s tax advantage and violation of the tax confidentiality obligation, the investigation took a broad look at the actions of the Tax and Customs Administration. The research has been validated by external independent experts. At the request of these independent experts, the research group took a broader look at Uber’s tax treatment and possible agreements.”
No irregularities According to Van Rij, the conclusion of the investigation is that no irregularities were found. “The independent external experts endorse this. Or as they put it themselves: ‘The conclusion of the research report is that (in our words) Uber has no advantage occurred. Whatever Uber thought or hoped to get from deviating tax treatment, it failed.”
According to the State Secretary, the research group saw no reason to contact Uber, even after reports from various media, including NRC. That newspaper published an interview with former Uber lobbyist and whistleblower Mark MacGann, which, according to the three Senate factions, would show that Uber was not asked for data. “Based on the investigation, the external experts also saw no reason to do so,” says the CDA minister. “The allegations from the media were clear to the internal investigation group and could be contradicted. Incidentally, no new information has been offered to the Tax and Customs Administration.”
Hearing Finally, Van Rij’s three political parties wanted to know whether he would still like to conduct an independent investigation into this. The Secretary of State does not want to know anything about this for the time being. “The NRC article does not contain any (new) objective (tax) facts that show a favoring of Uber and that can be checked against the research report,” he argues. The article does, however, refer to tax deals, without specifying this. The investigation gives a clear picture with regard to the allegations that have appeared in the media: no irregularities have been found.”
However, Van Rij changes his position when new facts about this subject come to light on 12 March. Then there will be a hearing in the House of Representatives with Mark MacGann. “If the hearing with Mr MacGann in the House of Representatives on 12 March reveals new – relevant facts for the actions of the Tax and Customs Administration – come, I am of course willing to look into this within the framework of the duty of confidentiality and to exchange ideas with the House of Representatives”, concludes the CDA minister.
Investigation: informal contact tax authorities and Uber, no favour State Secretary Van Rij wants a confidential briefing to inform Parliament about Uber’s tax treatment