The beginning of 2007 has been a busy period, both for the Benelux region and for the wider European area influenced by legislation coming out of Brussels.

On 1 January major changes to the Dutch corporate income tax and dividend withholding tax regimes were introduced, with both rates being reduced to 25.5 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.

The Netherlands has also approved a bill that will simplify the laws relating to the country’s private limited company (BV), changes that are expected to result in significant advantages for businesses in the structure of their companies and joint ventures.

But, as usual, it is to Brussels that one must turn for the greatest number of new regulations. The article outlines the highlights, which include significant developments across the financial services industry, including three pending initiatives in retail banking and harmonised rules in the securities market. A busy year beckons.