Thursday, February 05, 2009

Dutch royals look to Guernsey

The Dutch newspaper Volkskrant has popped open a new story about the Royal Family's tax affairs. It has a curious twist in it, with one of their defenders arguing that her use of a Guernsey trust to dodge tax is defensible, because she has an eye problem.

An abridged, translated version of their article goes like this (English web translation here):

"Princess Christina, who lives in London, pays no UK tax on her wealth through a trust called Daffodil administered in Guernsey. She does not pay Dutch tax either, since she does not live in the Netherlands.

The fact that a member of the family of Orange uses Guernsey was never submitted to the Government Information Service (RVD), though it has been assessed by the British and Dutch tax authorities and is publicly available at the Dutch chamber of commerce.

Remarkably, the RVD also argues on Christina’s behalf, saying that the princess needs careful asset management because of her visual handicap. Christina has had an eye disease since her birth. The Deputy Minister of Finance responded to the affair by saying that the Dutch tax authorities have no problems with it, and the Minister of Social Affairs has stressed that using Guernsey like this is not illegal.

Still, Dutch political parties are not happy about it. The Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) stated that the sister of Queen Beatrix should serve as an example to others. The Dutch Social Party (SP) called Christina’s wealth management strategy ‘not very royal’ and wants to know which other forms of tax evasion are organised from the residences of members of the royal family. The People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) said that the construction may be legal but not desirable. The Christian Democratic Party (CDA) wants an overview of all legal persons located on the address or postoffice box of the Palace.

How much money is involved? De Volkskrant isn't sure, but a separate article, roughly translated, says,

"The Trust manages the assets of the UK resident Christina, who is not a member of the Royal House. Her money is largely from the legacy of her parents who died in 2004, Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard. According to the latest information, the family had about 200 million Euros in 2003.
. . .
Who is behind Daffodil is in Guernsey?. Trusts are rarely registered in the local Chamber of Commerce. And were such a person to be found, this would lead to a mailbox company, which in turn communicates with a chain of other firms. The Directors will not be anything more than the anonymous employees of a local administrative office."

And now here's an interesting detail.

Next week, more attention will be given to tax evasion in the Netherlands and through tax havens. With the help of professors, politicians and tax specialists, the famous TV personality Jort Kelder will then show how it is possible to reduce the tax payable to the minimum. This TV show ‘Paying is for fools’ will be broadcasted Thursday February 12."

What's the status of Britain's Royals? We are checking the latest, but take a look at this story from 2006.

The mood on tax is changing in Britain, and fast. It's happening in France too. And Germany. We are getting indications in Switzerland, as yesterday's blog showed. And that's not to mention the United States. Could the same thing be happening in the Netherlands? This, and other indications, suggest that opinions are changing there too.

3 Comments:

Blogger Georges said...

So, no laws are being broken in the UK, the Netherlands, or Guernsey.

What seems to be the problem?

5:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Law!!!!!
Rudolf Elmer

8:05 am  
Anonymous TJN said...

Georges. So apartheid, legal in South Africa in its day, was OK was it?

Don't forget the golden rule: he who has the gold makes the rules.

3:42 am  

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