Dutch Tax Shelters for Royalties (from licensing intellectual property, not nobility)
Category: Tax Law and Planning
If you have income producing intellectual property, it turn out that the Netherlands may be the place to own it. Previously thought of only in terms of tulips and windmills, Dutch Tax Law is incredibly favorable to royalties (produced from licensing copyrights and patents) - so favorable in fact, that royalties are not taxed there.
The article The Netherlands, the New Tax Shelter Hot Spot from the New York Times describes how the Rolling Stones and others who derive huge amounts of revenue from licensing have significantly reduced taxation by taking advantage of Dutch Laws designed to attract royalty producing assets. The most impressive statistic from the article (and making it a worthwhile read): "Over the last 20 years, according to Dutch documents, the [three of the members of the Rolling Stones] have paid just $7.2 million in taxes on earnings of $450 million that they have channeled through Amsterdam — a tax rate of about 1.5 percent, well below the British rate of 40 percent." Wow.
LAST spring, Keith Richards, the craggy-faced and hard-partying lead guitarist for the Rolling Stones, fell from a tree at a beach resort in Fiji, slamming his head against the trunk on his way down. Mr. Richards was flown to New Zealand, where a surgeon provided emergency care to treat swelling in his brain. While the accident forced the Rolling Stones to cancel part of their summer tour, Mr. Richards, 62, handily survived his plunge.
“It’s not the first brush with death I’ve had,” Mr. Richards later told Rolling Stone magazine. “I guess what I learned is, don’t sit in trees anymore.”
What two of the other three Rolling Stones apparently learned, including Mick
Jagger and Charlie Watts, was that Mr. Richards’s near-death experience meant that it was time to think about their heirs. For that, the aging rockers turned to a reclusive Dutch accountant, Johannes Favie, whose company, Promogroup, has helped them minimize their tax bills for more than 30 years. (The fourth Rolling Stone, Ron Wood, handles his finances apart from Promogroup.)
And so, last August, according to details disclosed in documents maintained by the Handelsregister, the trade registry of the Netherlands, Promogroup helped the three performers set up a pair of private Dutch foundations that will allow them to transfer assets tax-free to heirs when they die. Other Dutch shelters that Promogroup has arranged for the three have already paid off handsomely; over the last 20 years, according to Dutch documents, the three musicians have paid just $7.2 million in taxes on earnings of $450 million that they have channeled through Amsterdam — a tax rate of about 1.5 percent, well below the British rate of 40 percent.
Labels: Tax Law and Planning