Some 15,000 SFIs or letterbox companies are established in the Netherlands. With a balance sheet total of EUR 3,609 billion as at the end of 2017, SFIs are the largest Dutch financial sector, even outstripping the banking sector (EUR 2,281 billion). Based on statistics collected by DNB for the Dutch balance of payments, the flows of tax-relevant income (e.g. dividends, interest and royalties) through SFIs amounted to approximately EUR 180 billion a year in the period 2013-2016. In one third of all cases (both inflow and outflow) this involved transactions with countries that have a low corporate tax rate (according the Congressional Research Service, OECD or FSF-IMF, see Annex), popularly referred to as tax havens.
Table 1 - Estimated impact of SFIs on the Dutch economy (2013 - 2016)*
(EUR millions; annual averages)