When Willem Gerbers, one of the legal partners of Amsterdam-based Tax and Legal firm HVK Stevens, noticed how many other firms were leaving Rotterdam, he spotted a market opportunity and decided to buck the trend. And so, the company opened an office in Rotterdam in 2019, and they quickly developed an increased focus on the shipping industry.
Edwin Veele and Mike Hagendoorn of the HVK Stevens tax team discuss incentives for sustainability investments concerning this industry, and the added value of being part of the Rotterdam Maritime Services Community.
Edwin Veele leads the specialised tax team in Rotterdam, focusing on the international tax market and VAT-queries. He has a background in supporting international trade and helping inbound (shipping) companies establishing themselves in the Netherlands. Mike Hagendoorn is an expert in VAT and Dutch tax incentives for shipping companies. Together with their team, they work to promote the Dutch tax system’s advantages for the international market.
A push for sustainable investments
These include a range of subsidies and favourable (environmentally-based) tax schemes. Because improved sustainability is high on the agenda, it is being pushed through a wide array of incentives. By way of example, shipping companies investing in environmentally- or energy-friendly technologies, like sustainable drives or hulls for vessels, could be eligible for substantial tax reductions. Shipping companies might, under certain conditions, also qualify for the Dutch tonnage tax scheme, a labour cost subsidy, or accelerated depreciation.
Taking full advantage of the available facilities calls for extensive comprehension and knowledge. In some cases it’s enough for a vessel to fly an EU flag, or it may only require an established business in the Netherlands, for example. That’s why Edwin and Mike go beyond simply promoting these favourable conditions. They make it their priority to go the extra mile for their clients, with sound advice and support for the application process. Mike Hagendoorn: “We have the advantage that Willem is a notary. This is very convenient for our clients while also helping to increase efficiency.”
Opportunities for cooperation
When HVK Stevens moved to Rotterdam, a priority was to become part of the local business community. Both to put their arrival on the map for possible clients and to take a proactive role in knowledge sharing and development. After consideration HVK Stevens opted for the Rotterdam Maritime Services Community (RMSC). Edwin Veele: “We noticed that the RMSC network is made up of senior experts with a broad industry background. This facilitates high-quality interactions and creates opportunities for cooperation, making it obvious that we should join.”
The RMSC membership also helps to increase HVK Stevens Rotterdam’s visibility and profile as a sound maritime business services provider, while creating cross-industry connections. Edwin Veele: “I believe this to be one of the strong points. That’s because business services like ship management, build management, crewing or classification are crucial to the broad maritime cluster, helping to create a competitive advantage for all the regional industry players.”