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International tax planning - Trust and management services in the Netherlands

Last updated: 18-01-2006

When a foreign corporation decides to establish a presence in the Netherlands they may consider to hire third parties who can take care of managing their Dutch company and providing administrative and legal services.

In the Netherlands there is a well-developed industry for providing such services, which in the market place are usually referred to as trust companies.

A trust company can provide the minimum substance, which you need in the Netherlands for maintaining a Dutch corporation. This may include (limited) management services (the appointment as director), providing registered address for the company, bookkeeping, legal services, etc.

A trust company can be an appropriate solution if a foreign corporation wants to establish a presence in the Netherlands without a significant investment in office location, personnel, local management, etc.

Over the last decades the Dutch trust industry has produced highly skilled and professional organisations, which meet international business standards. Unfortunately there was however also a negative spin off in the sense that Dutch trust companies are believed to have been involved in highly aggressive tax schemes and money laundering practices. Under international pressure the Dutch government has recently introduced a permit system for Dutch trust companies. In order to qualify for a permit, the trust company should meet stringent conditions and subject itself to periodical reporting and supervision by the Dutch Central Bank. This trust legislation has entered into force per 1 March 2004.

A tendency in the market place is that trust companies are increasingly providing (international) tax advice and tax compliance services. Most of the trust companies do however not possess the knowledge and skills required to perform these kind of services in a professional and trustworthy way. If you hire a trust company to perform tax services we advice a prudent approach: everybody can provide tax advice an file tax returns but at the end of the day it is your company who has to pay the tax and you will have to face the consequences.

Our firm does not provide trust services, but only tax services. We do however represent may clients towards trust companies and co-ordinate or supervise their services.

We have an extensive network within the trust industry. If you require trust services we are gladly prepared to introduce you to an appropriate and trustworthy party who can supply the services, which you require. For more information, please feel free to contact us via e-mail or to call our offices at the number +31 (10) 2010466.