Rotterdam Maritime Services Community – In the limelight
Global presence and open to cooperation. The Dutch maritime industry is top notch. But to stay on top you have to keep on top of changes. Accountancy and tax firm Daamen & Van Sluis certainly believes so. We spoke to Jeroen in ‘t Hout, international tax specialist and head of the tax department, and talked about opening foreign offices and setting-up tax structures, the importance of a solid risk-free structure, and why exactly businesses stay in a region.
“The most important thing I learned in working with multinationals is that business is always leading in a tax structure. For instance, when a company wants to open up a foreign office in Singapore, because they want to benefit from the tax advantages and be part of a world port in Central Asia. But for it to be a real profit, you can’t just establish an entity there. You have to have a plan. You will need to hire people to set-up a new business operation or otherwise an important part of management has to relocate.
At Daamen & Van Sluis we look at all the local rules in depth within an international perspective. Always in a team and with local specialists. Not to overlook anything. It takes a lot of analysing to create a solid tax structure, but it prevents companies from thinking up complete new solutions every few years.
Many countries try to improve their business climate and many fail. Take a look at Asia for instance. Countries may try to change their tax laws but will not be able to steal a lot of business away from settled countries like for instance Singapore and Hong Kong. Other countries simply lack the existing infrastructure and advantage of the English language and heritage Singapore and Hong Kong has. That being said, infrastructure, tax law and clear communication aren’t the only key factors.
Just the other day I spoke to someone who works in Rotterdam at quite a large trading company. He enjoys his stay here as the managing director. He’s settled in, sort to say, and wouldn’t move for the world anymore. The office is located in Rotterdam because one of the previous shareholders is located there. But that would change the minute he was in charge. He said; ‘I would have started the business in London instead of Rotterdam. The banks, our clients and other stakeholders we work close with are all there. And even though it’s just an hour time difference and you can call and e-mail and whatever, meeting face to face and just having a short lunch or dinner makes a tremendous difference.’
It goes to show companies don’t move quickly when just local regulations change. We think Dutch tax law and regulations can work out very beneficial for multinational companies, but that the companies also need to work together in order to create an infrastructure in order to effectuate these benefits. That’s why we joined the RMSC. We wish to inform companies and to associate with as many companies as possible within RMSC to exercise our experience so the Dutch maritime sector can stay on top.”