The Dutch government has said it see no reason to ease value-added tax (VAT) rules for pension funds by equalising them with those found in Belgium.
Responding to a query from Pieter Omtzigt, MP for the Christian Democrats (CDA), Eric Wiebes, state secretary for the Treasury, pointed out that the current Dutch rules matched European jurisprudence on VAT.
He said the possibility of easing tax rules for pension funds was therefore “not up for discussion”.
His comments come after Omtzigt noted that Dutch pension funds relocating to Belgium paid no VAT.
The lawmaker also questioned whether this reflected a “level playing field”.
Wiebes pointed out that Belgium had a wider interpretation for VAT exemption for the management of a joint investment fund, with the dispensation being applicable to defined contribution (DC) and defined benefit pension funds.
The Belgian statute book for VAT stipulates that all OFP pension vehicles are exempt from VAT, without distinction between pension plans.
By contrast, in the Netherlands, only DC arrangements qualify for VAT exemption.
Wiebes said it would be “undesirable” for Dutch pension funds to move to Belgium simply for VAT benefits.
He added that he did not expect this to become a trend, as many Dutch pension funds were showing interest in joining the APF ‘general’ pension fund.
The APF, which allows pension funds to co-operate within a single vehicle while ring-fencing assets, is scheduled to come into force from 1 January 2016.
Wiebes said he would keep an eye on any developments in the market and brief the Dutch Parliament about a possible “follow-up” if he noticed “certain pension funds planning cross-border moves for VAT reasons”.