According to the newspaper Trouw, there is a major crisis within the department of the Tax Administration which deals with the first compensation for the payment affair. According to the newspaper, conversations with the victims, their lawyers and (former) employees of the Tax Administration show that the service is under great pressure, internal struggles and staff leave. Affected parents fear to get into the crunch again.
Last December, the Cabinet announced that every person who was already in the picture would pay a first compensation of 30,000 euros, pending a final solution. The Department of Implementation Organization Rehabilitation Supplements (UHT) was set up to put this in order before 1 May. In the meantime, the Tax Administration has concluded that almost half of the applicants who applied before 15 February are not entitled to compensation.
Trouw writes that the hard deadline leads to “chaos, and at times even panic”. “Everything is aimed at meeting the political commitment of 1 May. What that means for parents, or the diligence and lawfulness of what the Tax Administration is doing, seems subordinate to that,” said the newspaper, who, together with RTL Nieuws, brought the payment affair to roll.
Within the Tax Administration there would be dissatisfaction with the course of events. Especially personal case handlers, who are the direct point of contact for parents, leave frustrated or burnt out because of the high workload. Lawyers are resisting because their opinions are not being listened to. For example, the recommendation was ignored to inform rejected parents that they can appeal against this initial judgment.
Affected parents are threatened again, also because creditors are allowed to recover debts from affected parents from 1 May. Until May 1, parents had been granted a postponement. “If you call the service team ten times, you get ten different answers,” says one of them in Trouw. “I thought the intention was for the human measure to return to the Tax Administration. Well, theres really no question of that.”
A lawyer says that the letters from the UHT raise a lot of questions and speaks of “strange, uncontrollable views”. “In a few months, this will irrevocably freeze. There is a mess of decisions that will only raise new objections.”
Balance between speed and carefulness
Secretary of State for Finance Alexandra van Huffelen says in a response that there was “a firm effort obligation” due to the deadline, but also states that “a good balance between speed and care has been maintained”. She emphasises that each rejected application has been weighted by three employees and, in case of doubt, the parent has been called.
The Secretary of State acknowledges that “from their tremendous commitment” workload and emotionality can play a role in the departure of employees. “Fortunately, there are still people who want to help, and there is also a great willingness from the Tax Administration to help.”
asked why parents were not informed of their legal right to appeal in rejection letters, the Secretary of State against Trouw replied that objection should not be until the whole procedure has been completed. “The consideration has been that when incorporating a full and comprehensive objection clause, parents would unjustifiably believe that they should object in order not to lose rights. That is why, in the end, it was chosen to emphasize that objection is not yet necessary.”