As a graduate from Twente University Geert-Jan Bruinsma founded the company as Bookings.nl in Amsterdam in 1996. It has since grown into a multinational with a turnover of 8.5 billion euros and a stock exchange listing in New York City. It employs more than 17,000 people in 198 offices in seventy countries. In Amsterdam, more than 5,500 people work from no fewer than twelve offices; about three-quarters of them are expats. In 2017 Booking.com recorded a net profit of 2.9 billion euros. That is considerably more than other Dutch big companies such as Heineken, Philips and Akzo Nobel. Every day, the company processes some 1.5 million hotel bookings around the world. For each booking, the hotel owner pays an average commission of between 12 and 18 percent to Booking. The company earns so much money that the former Dutch CEO Mrs Tans quietly grew into one of the highest paid CEOs in the Netherlands.
Mrs Tans has been “promoted” to a fully paid but unclear job in which she works from home. She is succeeded as CEO by a certain Mr Felon who has been parachuted by the current parent company (Fomerly Priceline, recently renamed into Booking Holding…). Mr Felon has an annual salary of approximately 20 million Euro.
Dutch papers bring stories that the company earns so much money that they even hire people simply for the reason of hiring people only. They start with not doing anything. The whole infrastructure of its money generating sites is coded in Perl, which according to current tech guys is a completely outdated scripting language, but Booking cannot afford to change its software for a more modern language….
Dutch tax holiday
According to Quote:
There’s another reason Booking is so loyal to our capital. By remaining in the Netherlands, the company can benefit from a particularly favorable tax regime. In recent years, Booking has concluded a number of successive tax rulings with the Dutch government, according to annual reports of its parent company. The most recent ruling, from September 2017, stipulates that Booking may share “part of the income” under the so-called “Innovation box”.
This is an arrangement that has existed since 2010 and is intended to allow companies to invest more in technological innovation. On the income in this box, companies do not pay 25, but only 7 percent profit tax (up to March 2018 it was even 5 percent). The annual report published by parent company Booking Holdings in February shows that the tax benefit for Booking is enormous. In 2018 alone, the company received a tax discount of $ 435 million in the Netherlands, or about $ 385 million. Thanks to this bait from the state, not only will Booking’s headquarters remain in the Netherlands, but all income generated worldwide by the company will immediately flow to the Netherlands before being taxed elsewhere. “In fact, Booking does the same as for example Nike,” according to Dutch Member of Parliament Paul Tang: “At Nike, it also seems as if the Hilversum office sells an incredible amount of tracksuits and sneakers all over the world. The point is to achieve as much revenue as possible in the Netherlands. “In this way, Booking has received a tax discount of more than $ 2 billion from 2010 to 2018 thanks to the Innovation Box, according to the annual reports of the parent company. Converted, Booking received almost 1.8 billion euros from the tax authorities as a gift.
Abroad, this tax arrangement now creates anger. Australian Michael Hibbins, who worked for Shell for many years, recently calculated in a blog that Booking in his country evaded between $ 100 and 200 million by diverting Australian income tax-free to the Netherlands, where they were taxed only to a limited extent thanks to the Innovation Box. “The (Dutch, ed.) Government has levied a 5 percent tax on income that should have been declared in other countries. By doing this, the Netherlands has shown itself to be nothing better than well-known tax havens such as Singapore and the Bahamas. “In Hibbins view, Booking, together with the Dutch government,” manipulated the system to actually create the benefit of a tax haven. “
The pandemy hits Booking hard. In March its turnover was down to 15 % of the March 2019 turnover. It hase huge debts because of its recent purchases of its own shares. A perverse method to keep the share price artificially high in order to maintain the top’s huge bonusses.
In order to keep the economy a bit working Dutch Government will subsidize 90 % of wages for a couple of months provided there will be no lay offs of personell.
In a recent zoom meeting with personell in Amsterdam, Mr Fogel who himself has had the Covid 19 virus announced that Booking will apply for that subsidy.
One can imagine that there are several Dutch who try to prevent Dutch Government to grant this subsidy, especcially as the shareholders have taken billions of dollars as dividends from this mega earner recently……
Maybe Dutch Government has to adhere to its own rules with regard to the Pandemy Sunsidy, but I believe the Dutch Tax authourities should look into the issue of the company rightfully claimed the Innovation Box tax rebate…..why not treat them in the same way as the Dutch tax authorities treated the parents who they believed wrongfully claimed childcare tax rebates???