In response to parliamentary questions, the Ministry of Finance sent a summary of laws that the Tax Administration has not complied with in the past seven years. The 11 page letter contains a selection of cases that are contrary to the law or the general principles of good administration, write demissionary state secretaries Vijlbrief and Van Huffelen. It‘s not a complete overview.
The letter stems from a motion by CDA MP Omtzigt.
The examples in the Chamber’s Letter include withholding documents or late provision of documents to citizens or judges. It also describes how it is made unnecessarily difficult for parents to prove their entitlement to a surcharge. The Ministry of Finance states that the Tax Administration generally acts according to laws and regulations, but that this “unfortunately has not always been the case”.
The issues mentioned in the letter have already been discussed, including debates in the House of Representatives. The overview of the violations is new. “A serious and long list,” says lawyer Eva González Perez. And, “Not new, but shocking.” She supports victims of the child supplement affair since 2014.
The letter contains, inter alia, a ‘non-exhaustive summary’ of situations in which the Tax Administration did not comply with the law and general principles of good administration. “That means that there is more or is still coming about about what the Tax Administration has done or is doing in violation of the law,” says González Perez. “So there‘s still no line underneath.”
For more than six years, the lawyer, according to his own claim, regularly experienced that the tax authorities did not comply with the rules. “The law was not applied. This list contains everything they have been referred to in writing in recent years. So nothing revealing: it’s the media and politicians who have been working on this for years. It is a constant excavator in documents and bringing them out.”
CDA MP Pieter Omtzigt responds shocked to the content of the letter. On Twitter, he calls it “mandatory reading to understand the lack of rule of law”. He emphasises in an explanatory statement that this once again confirms that the law was not only too harshly implemented by the Tax Administration, as sometimes the explanation was, but that the law was not even followed.
“In a rule of law, the Tax Administration must comply with the law. That is what the service requires from all citizens. I want to know very well how much damage this has caused to citizens and businesses,” says Omtzigt. “A number of people this cost the entire rental allowance. They lost thousands of euros a year because the interpretation of the law by the Tax Administration was not what it should be like according to the highest court.”
He also denounced how long it took for this information to reach the Chamber. “We expected this letter weeks ago, even before the election recess. Now it is an awkward moment, because we cannot talk about it with the government now.”
The letter also shows that the information is not yet complete. Omtzigt also expressly regrets that. “I have been asking for an overview for years and this letter does not give an exhaustive list.” He wants that list as soon as possible. He also wants to see as soon as possible how long the Cabinet has known about this.
Last week, RTL Nieuws concluded on the basis of confidential documents that the tax administration‘s working methods, which led to the payment affair, began much earlier than was known to date.
The Chamber Letter of Friday evening also responds to the story about DeccEit’s free foot. This shows that when settling surcharges, the Tax Administration does not normally take into account whether people have enough money left to live on, whereas according to a law that came into force on 1 January.
The Tax Administration confirmed the working method and said that when people ask for it, the personal situation is looked at. According to the service, this is permitted under the new law.
The Ministry of Finance says to investigate the question of how the tax administration should be used. They want to talk with the National Ombudsman and social counselors.