Dutch Council of State advises on role Dutch Caribbean countries in concluding tax treaties

Recently the Advisory Division of the Council of State – this division advises the Dutch government and Parliament on legislation and governance – issued an advisory opinion regarding the position of the Dutch Caribbean countries (i.e. Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten) in connection with the concluding of tax treaties and EU law. The advice contains 10 recommendations to improve the process of concluding tax treaties. The Council explains the relevant legal framework for entering into treaty relations. Treaties are concluded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but are often only applicable to the European part of the Kingdom. If a treaty affects Aruba, Curacao or Sint Maarten, these countries should be involved in the treaty process. The Council of State mentions that this is not always the case. On the one hand, because these are small-scale Administrations; on the other hand, the European Netherlands Administration should pay more attention to involving the Dutch Caribbean counties.

Note: The advice only deals with the role of the autonomous Dutch Caribbean countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands and does not address the involvement of the Caribbean Netherlands (i.e. the so called BES-Islands Bonaire, Statia and Saba) in concluding tax treaties. This relates to the constitutional position of the Caribbean Netherlands. Bonaire, Statia and Saba as separate public entities (comparable to municipalities),  are an integral part of the country the Netherlands. However, please note that treaties concluded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands on behalf of the Netherlands often only apply to the European part and do not automatically apply in relation to the Caribbean Netherlands.

August 2021