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Netherlands: New Bank Tax Under Consideration by Parliament

(June 28, 2012) In December 2011, draft legislation on the introduction of a bank tax in the Netherlands was released by the government. The Lower House (Tweede Kamer) of the Dutch Parliament (Staten-Generaal) adopted the draft on May 22, 2012, and it has been sent on to the Upper House (Eerste Kamer) for consideration, with a projected date of July 2 and/or 3 for plenary treatment. (René Offermanns, Netherlands: Bill to Introduce a Bank Tax Adopted by Lower House, TAX NEWS SERVICE (June 25, 2012), International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation (IBFD) online database; 33.121 Wet bankenbelasting, Eerste Kamer website (last visited June 25, 2012) [machine translation consulted].)

The draft legislation adopted by the Lower House contains several amendments to the original version submitted by the government. First, in regard to the applicable tax rate, instead of a tax of 0.022% on short-term liabilities of the bank and of 0.011% on long-term liabilities, those rates have doubled to 0.044% and 0.022%, respectively. (Offermanns, supra.) Liabilities, defined under article 8 of the draft law, include, for example, the bank's regulatory capital and certain deposits. (Wet bankenbelasting, supra.) Second, if a manager receives a bonus of more than 100% of his salary, a 10% surcharge will be imposed on the above bank tax rates, instead of the 5% surcharge originally put forward. Third, two years after the bank tax's introduction, this surcharge on manager bonuses applies when the bonuses reach just 25% of the salary. (Offermanns, supra.)

According to one analyst, the draft legislation is likely not to meet one of its key objectives, that the tax not influence lending to companies, because the new tax will have the effect of reducing bank equity, a fixed percentage of which usually equals the amount of loans granted by a bank. This reduction in equity is also anticipated to “make it more difficult for banks to meet the new capital requirements as agreed under the Basel III Agreement.” (Id.; Basel III: A Global Regulatory Framework for More Resilient Banks and Banking Systems – Revised Version June 2011, Bank for International Settlements website (June 2011) [has links to text of the agreement]; Natsuko Waki & Catherine Bosley, Global Regulators Agree on Tougher Basel III Bank Rules, REUTERS (Sept. 12, 2010); for additional features of the draft legislation, see René Offermanns, Netherlands: Bill to Introduce a Bank Tax Published, TAX NEWS SERVICE (Dec. 19, 2011), IBFD.)