Bain Capital avoided about €80 million (or $102 million) in taxes by using a financial loophole in the Netherlands, according to a HuffPost translation of an article in the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant Monday.
De Volkskrant and the website Follow the Money claim that by routing its 2004 investments in the Irish pharmaceutical company Warner Chilcott through the Netherlands, Bain was able to dodge dividends and capital gains taxes. Financial adviser Jos Peters estimates that the loophole allowed Bain to save about $102 million.
In 2009, 4 years after investing in Warner Chilcott, Bain moved the company's seat from Bermuda to the Netherlands to evade possible stricter tax laws on the island, De Volkskrant explains.
Radio Netherlands Worldwide summarized what happened next:
Then two years ago, Bain registered its interest in Warner Chilcott with the private Dutch company Alter Domus, which provides administrative services for multinational corporations and investment funds. If a Dutch company owns more than five percent of the shares in another company, then that other company is exempt from paying taxes on all capital gains.
Through exemptions like that and a host of other complicated tax treaties, the Netherlands offers huge tax breaks to companies like Bain, which is reported to have evaded 80 million euros in dividend taxes by running through the Netherlands.
"We are world champion in participants exemptions," Dutch financial adviser Jos Peters told De Volkskrant.
Follow The Money explained that Mitt Romney had left Bain in 1999 to run the Olympics in Salt Lake City, but his retirement package allowed him to participate in Bain deals and thus share in the profits. (It's also not clear that he did, in fact, leave in 1999.)
Jesse Frederik, who wrote the article in De Volkskrant, clarified in a comment to the The Political Wire:
Just to be clear: Romney didn't avoid $80 million in Irish dividend withholding taxes, but a Bain fund he invests in. The Bain fund also avoided an unknown amount (probably tens of millions) of Irish capital gains tax. Romney received $2,1 million in dividends from the fund in 2010/2011 and $5,5 million in capital gains.
You can find Follow The Money's detailed report here.
Bain's tax move is widely enough used in the corporate world, noted one Reddit user, that it's been given a name: "Double Irish With A Dutch Sandwich." The Redditer flagged a New York Times infographic that explains how the tax avoidance strategy is implemented.
CORRECTION: Due to a mistranslation, a previous version of this article suggested that Bain Capital had committed tax evasion. This is not the case, and the company avoided taxes through legal means.