Tax evasion by multinationals and the related tax competition between countries form an international problem. With the Fiscal Transparency research programme, Jan van de Streek aims to achieve greater transparency regarding these tax issues.
In order to effectively address tax evasion and tax competition, it is necessary for countries within the European Union to cooperate. In practice, however, this cooperation is difficult to get off the ground, and countries are using their own tax systems to attract multinationals.
'As an individual country, it is advantageous to charge just a bit less in taxes in order to attract multinationals. As a result, a lot of countries have a hidden agenda,' says Jan van de Streek, professor in Tax Law. He strives towards more transparency in tax matters and is using his research programme to achieve this.'
Creating transparency about tax issues is familiar terrain for Van de Streek. Last year, he played an important part in the debate about the government’s intention to abolish dividend tax. He requested the dividend tax memos to study this intention. His research into the agreement between oil company Shell and the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration about this tax was subsequently featured in all national media and caused a great stir in politics and society.
The European Union places great value on transparency for the functioning of European organisations. 'It would benefit European democracy if decision-making about tax issues were also made significantly more transparent,' is Van de Streek’s opinion. With his four-year research programme, he intends to closely follow the European decision-making process. If necessary, he will invoke the European Transparency Regulation to gain access to certain documents.
Until now, no scientific study into tax competition between countries has ever been conducted. The UvA’s Amsterdam Law School recognises the importance of the research and is contributing to it, along with the Adessium Foundation, a private grant-making fund.