German corona test manufacturer Qiagen is apparently pushing its tax burden on a large scale. Collect public funding and avoid taxes at the same time: The German corona test manufacturer Qiagen has reportedly maximized its income using questionable methods.
The German company Qiagen has apparently reduced its tax burden by millions using a trick. This is the result of analyzes by the Dutch non-governmental organization SOMO and research by the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” and the WDR.
German corona test manufacturer Qiagen is apparently pushing its tax burden on a large scale
The company, which once emerged from a start-up of a team of scientists from the University of Düsseldorf, is considered a German model company. During the corona crisis, the biotech group developed corona tests at lightning speed; meanwhile he sells these halfway around the world. The share of the TecDax group has gained around 50 percent in value since the end of January. Qiagen is now considered a candidate for the Dax.
According to “SZ”, Qiagen optimizes its taxes as follows:
- From the group’s balance sheets it can be seen how sister companies of the German holding company borrowed hundreds of millions. According to the reports, interest of up to eight percent is due – amounts that are very unusual in times of extremely low interest rates.
- The interest payments could be deducted from the tax. So on paper they reduced the company’s profits.
- According to “SZ”, income also flows into tax havens like Luxembourg, where hardly any taxes are due.
- From there, the money goes back to the parent company in the Netherlands via dividends.
SOMO, which specializes in the complex structures of large corporations, estimates that Qiagen has used this trick to reduce its tax burden by at least 93 million euros since 2010.
The trick that Qiagen uses is, according to tax experts, completely legal and is also used by many other companies. However, the procedure is generally considered morally questionable. In the case of Qiagens, it was even said to be particularly problematic. Because the company has collected around 20 million euros in funding from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Federal Ministry of Research at the same time.
In spring there was an EU-wide debate as to whether companies that use tax tricks to get their profits out of the country should receive state aid. So far this has had little effect in the Federal Republic of Germany.
Qiagen himself announced that they are trying, like many other companies, to “optimize their own global tax position” while strictly observing the law. One always tries to achieve an “appropriate balance” between the interests of the company and the public interest. SOMO’s calculations cannot be understood. They were based on a “purely fictitious calculation”.