In principle no they are not. When you sell a Depository Receipt to someone else there should be no tax withheld on this sale (what normally does happen on a product in a store). Then why do I hear so much about high taxes on Employee Participation? That has everything to do with the value transaction from an employer to an employee. The tax authorities see every Depository Receipt (shares) transaction as a sale from one to the other, read: value going from one to the other, just as money. So if the employer gives a €10 share to the employee and the employee pays €10 back out of pocket, nothing will be taxed. If the employer does the same but the employee does not pay out of pocket, it is seen as net salary over which the employer is mandated to pay the salary taxes to the tax authorities. This of course also counts when an employer sells a €10 share to an employee which in reality is valued on €100. If the employee pays €10 out of pocket, the tax authorities will still see the other €90 as net income. This goes for any employer to employee transaction. As long as you can prove the employee paid in some way for the transaction, no taxes are withheld. The biggest problem that the tax authorities give us is not giving an easy way to know for sure they accept that valuation of €10 per share. The Dutch tax authorities are unfortunately still relatively unclear about this.