April 26, 2021

Samira Ataei and Evert de Vos

How Uber avoids taxes worldwide with Dutch private companies

‘The car is untouchable in Australia. Wide streets, hardly any cyclists, plenty of parking spaces and excellent roads. The continent-sized country is fully equipped for the car. On the virtual map of Sydney, the dot of the Uber driver is getting closer in no time. This summer evening, the boarding point is Bondi Beach, Sydney’s famous city beach. Uber’s cars in Australia are mostly white Toyotas, the drivers are mostly immigrant sons from the western parts of the city, where the average income is significantly lower than in the residential areas on the Pacific Ocean.

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The Uber driver parks at the beginning 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: the payment is automatically made by credit card. The driver says goodbye. Thanks, mate.

A fraction of a second later, the 35 Australian dollars that the ride costs are on the account of Uber NL Holdings 1 BV, thirty percent after that goes straight back to the Australian driver. The Dutch holding, which in turn includes at least fifty other Uber BVs, is the heart of the financial system of the taxi and meal delivery company, according to the ‘Taken for a ride’ survey that the Australian NGO Center for International Corporate Tax Accountability and Research ( CICTAR ) for the FNV performed. The worldwide turnover of Uber (with the exception of China and America) ends up at this Dutch BV, totalling USD 5.8 billion in 2019, while at the same time a loss of USD 4.5 billion is made on paper. The result: Uber pays little or no profit tax in all countries where it operates.’

Read the full article here.