The car is untouchable in Australia. Wide roads, hardly any cyclists, parking lots and excellent roads. The continent-sized country is fully equipped for the car. On the virtual map of Sydney, the Uber driver’s dot is closing in no time. This summer evening, Boarding Point, is the famous city center of Sydney. Uber cars in Australia are mostly white toyotas, drivers are mostly immigrant sons from the western parts of the city, where average incomes are significantly lower than in residential areas in the Pacific Ocean.
During the drive towards the Student District of Newtown, sea breeze flows through the open window. A view of the bay appears from the road in which Sydney is hidden. The important ghats for public transport in the city are separated by water. The briefly depicted Harbor Bridge was completed in 1932 after a huge government investment, which was not paid until 50 years later. In the early nineties, the city built another tunnel under the port for about seven hundred million dollars. Sydney Cricket Ground’s stadium lights burn above the trees, a ground sacred to sports-loving Australians. The stadium is public property.
Uber Driver Park at the start of King St., Newtown’s busy nightlife street, in the shadow of the University of Sydney towers, where the city trains its next generation of doctors, artists and lawyers. It is not necessary to pay with the driver: payment is made automatically by credit card. The driver says goodbye. thanks friend.
A portion of the latter, costing the Australian $ 35 ride, is on the account of Uber NL Holdings 1 BV, with 30 per cent then going directly to the Australian driver. According to the study, Dutch Holding, which includes at least fifty other Uber BVs, is the heart of the taxi and food delivery company’s financial system. ‘Taken for a ride’ DAT D Australasian NGO Center for International Corporate Tax Accountability and Research (Cictar) for fnv Exhibited. Uber’s worldwide business (with the exception of China and the US) ends on this Dutch BV, a total of $ 5.8 billion in 2019, while a loss of US $ 4.5 billion on paper at the same time. Result: Uber pays little or no profit tax in all countries where it works.
Jason Ward concludes, ‘This is a defense from the Champions League tax.’ Cictar. “It’s all legal and completely wealthy at the same time.” Because whether it is a bridge or expensive tunnel in Sydney, or a traffic light and traffic police in Calcutta, it does not pay a cent for the infrastructure that its taxi drivers and food givers use to their heart’s content.
‘It’s all legal and completely rich at the same time’
“This is to say that former start-ups and especially large international tech companies pay less tax for such ethically malleable constructions,” says Arjan Lejour, professor of taxation and public finance at Tiller University. ‘Starbucks is known for this and Google also avoided taxes for a long time through the Netherlands. Profit maximization comes first in these companies and the production factors are mobile. Shifting financial flows is easy. In addition, there seems to be a lack of internal awareness that you contribute something to society through taxes. ‘
About parts of Uber The tax avoidance report has already appeared in the financial press, it has not yet been officially published. CictarHowever, research shows the vastness and coherence of the system. The Dutch route began when Uber moved intellectual property, logos and apps from Bermudas to the Netherlands in 2019. This ‘sale’ was regularly funded by a $ 16 billion internal loan from a Singapore-based Uber company in the quarter ComplainantInterest, with a mark of six percent. The loan provides an annual tax deduction of one billion dollars for the next twenty years in the Netherlands.
National Uber companies pay relatively large sums of money for administration (58 percent of sales) and intellectual property worldwide and therefore almost all of their losses are on paper. The Australian government made more than $ 39 million in corporate taxes this way last year, calculating Cictar Based on public sources. Worldwide, it is estimated that 556 million in taxes are thus avoided. Uber makes a profit at an all-embroidered company in Singapore – a tax haven.
It costs Cictar Great difficulty mapping Uber’s financial system, as large parts are completely non-transparent. For example, in the UK, Uber is classified as a small and medium-sized enterprise. “As a result, Uber does not have to publish its financial report here,” Ward discovered. As far as global financial flows are concerned, Uber can be compared to an international bank, tax researcher notes, but the company is not required to comply with applicable banking regulations. ‘There is no adequate control.’ The Netherlands also earns nothing from its many Uber BVs within its borders, Ward knows. “You are a tax shelter for Uber. The only accounting firm to pay the high bills is PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which is involved in this construction. ‘
How can this international tax avoidance be dealt with? What can the Netherlands do? “By yourself you are on the right track in Europe,” Ward replies. ‘The European Union wants to tell international companies how much tax they pay in each country where they exist. This is a good start, as you can expect that companies like Uber damage their image and will pay tax under the pressure of public opinion. ‘Meanwhile, the Netherlands should be able to slightly strengthen Uber BV’s control, D Cictar-Contactor. For example, he found several Uber BVs in the Chamber of Commerce, who had never submitted an annual report – which is mandatory.
British Uber drivers are now also entitled to workers’ rights. it’s a start ‘
According to The Australian, there is also room for improvement in the field of law. ‘In some countries, for example, private limited companies are prohibited from using it as a financial construct, only to evade tax. That could also be done in the Netherlands. ‘
“This year, we banned intellectual property and interest in the Netherlands,” says Arjan Lejour. Singapore is not on that list and that is what gave Uber its advantage. ‘However, according to the Tilburg professor, there are questions about the surcharge of six percent that the company charges for internal debt. ‘I am very surprised that the Dutch tax authorities have agreed to this.’ Lejour states that tech companies are making maximum use of tax easing introduced by national governments in the last century. ‘People were so afraid that multinational companies were taxed twice that they now pay nothing twice.
International remedy The most important solution to this type of tax avoidance would have to be offered ‘, Reynier Eschmann replied fnv this CictarResearch. ‘Companies like Uber always know how shortcuts are discovered to avoid national tax legislation.’ As an example, he cites Uber’s penalties in India, which are described in the report.
In 2016, the Indian government introduced an additional tax for permanently established international companies in the country. Now the investigation reveals that Uber India Systems Private Limited (Uispl), Uber’s largest Indian subsidiary, paid just 320 million Indian rupees (now 3.5 million euros) in this tax in 2019-2019. Less than one-third of the legally prescribed six percent. Uber India paid 233 million Indian rupees (2.6 million euros) in tax, while the country has 8.9 billion Indian rupees (98 million euros) in revenue. So only 2.6 percent.
“Uber is a great app,” Ashkeman says fnv, ‘But the purpose behind the world is to pay as little tax as possible everywhere in the world. Even though a country like India takes measures to make tech companies contribute to society, Uber will also make large-scale arrangements to get out of it. ‘European Union and OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) measures are taken, fnv‘Are you there? “If a strong country like India can’t really get Uber to pay, how do you think things are going in developing countries?”
Arjan Lejour says that international cooperation certainly provides hope for the distant future. ‘In OECD And the G20 is talking about a minimum rate for profit tax, but it would be better if there is a system where the worldwide profit of a multinational company is determined in one place and that is pro rata in different countries . It is great that Biden has now spoken of taxing large multinationals. Because if big countries support it, then certainly such an international tax system is not without chance. ‘
Incidentally, the benefit tax is not the only government regulation that Uber is avoiding. Because the company treats taxi drivers and food givers as self-employed individuals – and not as employees – the company avoided at least 29 million euros in taxes and social security contributions in the Netherlands last year, fnv In a white paper. ‘Fortunately, we are seeing a change when it comes to these types of platform companies,’ says Acekeman. Until sometime ago, everyone was cheering on the activities of Amazon and Uber, but now the dark side is also being seen. The UK Supreme Court ruled in February that UK Uber drivers are also entitled to workers’ rights. it’s a start. We have also initiated a lawsuit in the Netherlands about this, which has no chance. Because everyone now sees that the avoidance of taxes and employee contributions weaken our social system. ‘
In collaboration with Maarten van Dun (Australia)
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