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Here's how Uber saved more than $6 billion by creating an offshore tax haven in the Netherlands

Business Insider 2019-08-11 14:30:00


  • Uber's shares tanked on Thursday after its Q2 earnings were revealed.
  • Also in those company filings were details about Uber's Dutch tax haven.
  • The Dutch scheme allowed Uber to save over $6 billion in taxes, through a new law created by the European Union.
  • View Markets Insider for more stories.

Uber, after responding to a crack down in European offshore tax havens, managed to forge a Dutch tax haven to the tune of $6.1 billion, in a move that'll help the San Francisco based company for years to come.

The European Union has rules in place governing multi-national companies, meaning Uber benefitted by moving some of its off-shore business to the Netherlands.

In recent years, the

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development requires multinational companies to justify the business purpose of its offshore operations, so low tax countries such as Ireland, the Netherlands and Singapore have become popular spots for companies.

According to Bloomberg, Uber created this windfall by pulling" intellectual property out of a paper entity in Bermuda with no employees and put it into a Dutch entity that's ultimately controlled by a holding company in Singapore."

Bloomberg reported that the $6.1 billion tax deduction cane via an increase in the value of intellectual property transferred between offshore subsidiaries - in this case Bermuda and the Netherlands. When it does so, an intangible asset increases in value, and with it so do the amount of tax deductions.

"It's safe to say that Uber will not be paying any taxes for the foreseeable future," Robert Willens, an independent tax and accounting expert in New York, told Bloomberg.

Bloomberg explained Uber's stance on the issue:

"An Uber spokesman said the shuffle was made to 'meet the demands' of 'the new global tax environment.' He referred to the OECD rules that aim to prevent technology and pharmaceutical companies from using paper companies to whisk profits earned in high-tax countries to low-tax and no-tax ones.

The spokesman, who asked not to be named, citing company policy, added that the shuffle also marked an end to Uber's use of a different tax strategy, known as 'Double Dutch.' That structure, which involves Dutch entities with no employees that funnel profits to havens, has been popular with multinationals in recent years and is now in the cross-hairs of European regulators."