««« previousnext »»» Why does Facebook have an empty office in Amsterdam?
Friday 17 February 2012
Social networking site Facebook has a Dutch limited company based on Amsterdam’s Herengracht, De Pers reports on Friday. but the office appears to be empty, giving rise to suggestions the company has set up a letterbox company to avoid taxes, the paper says.
According to the Chamber of Commerce, Facebook Netherlands BV is registered at Herengracht 282, a complex of temporary offices owned by the Regus group. but Facebook does not appear on the list of companies at reception, nor does it have a phone number, the paper says.
Initially, the Dutch registration said Facebook Netherlands would focus on selling advertising space, but that has now expanded into a ‘financial holding company’. This would indicate the Dutch operation is part of Facebook’s fiscal strategy, the paper says.
No workersThis would appear to be at odds with founder mark Zuckerberg’s statements that his aim is not to make money but to change the world, the paper points out.
Some 20,000 letterbox companies are currently registered in the Netherlands. Google also has a ‘zero employee’ base here, de Pers says.
Facebook Netherlands is owned by Facebook Global Holdings from Delaware. According to charity ActionAid last year, the Netherlands is second only to the US state of Delaware in terms of being a tax haven for large London-listed multinationals.
The Netherlands is popular because, for example, it does not levy tax on royalties earned outside the country, making it a popular base for international music groups like the Rolling Stones and U2.
The Netherlands is also used as an intermediary between the company and ‘real tax havens’ because of its no-questions asked policy, ActionAid said.
[Editor's note: thanks to everyone who pointed out our Don't Be Evil error. Our apologies.]
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