Ideas for a Dutch Tax Governance Code: Essay
Anna and Thom have contributed to a collection of essays, organised by the Dutch Ministry of Finance, about the possibilities for a Dutch Tax Governance Code. We have produced an abridged English version of the essay. Anna will also be contributing to an official seminar on this issue on 5 March 2021.
In this essay, we have reflected on the possibilities of a Dutch ‘tax governance code’ (hereinafter: code), as an instrument with which to regulate the fiscal behaviour of multinationals, and to rebuild public trust in taxation in the Netherlands. This article was written at the request of the Dutch Ministry of Finance for a seminar about the possibilities of a new code, to be coordinated by the government.
We have made a series of proposals for the possible contents of a code. A distinction has been made between ‘material’ and ‘formal’ aspects of the code. We have looked at the issues of transparency, assurance, and the safeguarding of the ethical quality of the own decision-making of a company (organising feedback). Furthermore, we see room for the inclusion of specific substantive commitments (or best effort commitments) as part of a code. In these cases, companies commit themselves to a specific fiscal outcome. This goes a step further than only including formal aspects (‘way of working’) in a code.