Shell has been threatened with an exit penalty by Dutch opposition parties after the energy company’s decision to end its dual share structure and move its tax base to the UK triggered a political backlash in the Netherlands.
Tom van der Lee, an MP from the Dutch green party, told the Financial Times that he would expedite a proposal to create an “exit tax” that was initially designed to hit Anglo-Dutch consumer giant Unilever with billions of euros in fees for leaving the country last year.
The levy was first proposed by the opposition Dutch green party in 2020 to punish companies that left the Netherlands for jurisdictions with less onerous corporate tax regimes.
The private members’ bill has now been revived after Shell on Monday announced that it would follow Unilever by ending its dual-share structure, relocating its tax base to the UK, and dropping “Royal Dutch” from its name.
Van der Lee, the Green MP who is behind the exit tax proposal, said he would request that the Dutch parliament debate the levy ahead of a Shell shareholders’ meeting on December 10.
“The exit tax has become a political priority for some opposition parties after Shell’s decision,” said Van der Lee. “The caretaker government has to realize that Shell has made up its mind and it is not possible to keep them in the country,” he said.
The exit tax has the support of the Greens and the Labour party but, crucially, will need backing from the liberal Democrats and Christian Union parties that are likely to form the next coalition government.
Van der Lee said that there was a “window of opportunity” to win