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Parliamentary questions
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29 November 2018
Question for written answer P-006057-18
to the Commission
Rule 130
Paul Tang (S&D)

 Subject:  Legality of Shell tax arrangements under state aid rules
 Answer in writing 

On 17 September 2018, I filed a complaint against the Netherlands on potential illegal state aid given to Royal Dutch Shell(1). This week, several facts were made public, which could be relevant in this investigation.

On 27 November 2018, RTL Nieuws reported that the tax ruling issued to Shell, which was central to our complaint, did not contain an end date(2), despite the fact that all Dutch tax rulings tend to be valid for 10 years and contain an evaluation clause. This period was recently brought down to five years by the Dutch State Secretary for Finance, Menno Snel. Does the Commission consider that by issuing an open-ended tax ruling, instead of a time-limited tax ruling, Shell has been given a specific advantage?

On 29 November 2018, the Dutch newspaper, Trouw, reported that Shell had not paid any corporate tax in the Netherlands, despite having highly profitable activities and its headquarters in the country(3). By attributing losses, Shell achieved a zero effective tax rate. Would allowing Shell such a tax rate, but not local firms, be a factor in concluding that the Netherlands provides illegal state aid?

(1)This complaint was registered under case number 2018/148327 — SA.52091(2018/MI).

Last updated: 6 December 2018Legal notice