Emotionated and with a mixture of hope and annoyance. For example, duped parents of the payment affair look at the interviews of directors of the Tax Administration. Today, on the third day of the hearings, Gerard Blankestijn was questioned. He was Director of Supplements at the Tax Administration from 2011 to 2018.
Blankestijn admitted that mistakes were made under his leadership, but says there was a great pressure on the service to deal with fraud. He also referred to “the client”, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment.
“ By and large, the story is again: it wasnt me,” Steve Kuipers responds to the interrogation. He and his wife are victims of the abuses of the IRS. They follow the interrogations at home. “Its again: I mentioned it, but I dont know what happened to it.”
The couple were told in 2014 that they had to repay 50,000 euros to the Tax Administration. They would not have been entitled to the allowance received for the care of two of their three children at a host parent agency in Eindhoven. That agency, together with hundreds of customers, was wrongly abandoned as a fraudster, turned out to be in 2018.
Kuipers called the stingle with the Tax Administration last year “degrading”:
Kuipers thinks the executives dont take responsibility. “After 5 minutes of watching, I get angry again. Theyve been playing hide-and-seek for years, and now theyre saying theyve enforced the law, but theyre not. With us nothing went wrong and yet our surcharge was stopped. All these years, Ive never had anyone from the Tax Administration on the phone who was telling the truth.”
Last year, the couple received compensation in the so-called CAF-11 case, after having appealed several times against the recovery. According to Kuipers, it is insufficient to compensate for the damage. “I hope that the interrogations will still bring up the bottom stone, because citizens must regain confidence in these kinds of bodies.”
Faces at the signatures
Angela Sanches is also one of the victims. Her kids were in a nursery who was cheating on her DigiD code. However, the surcharges received by Sanches were recovered from her. Her debt was up to 100,000 euros.
Sanches closely follows the interrogations. She gets emotional on a regular basis. “I have always received letters with their name and signature from these people, now I finally see faces,” she says. The hearings do not make her happy, she says after the questioning of Blankestijn. “He does not admit that they have plunged parents into misery. He even smiles occasionally, that makes me angry. He does not know what the parents and children have been through.”
The mother of two children in Rotterdam is entitled to compensation because she belongs to a group of victims of the CAF fraud case. The Tax Administration contradicts that. “I had a small part because I was in distress as a kidney patient.” She still pays a monthly amount back to the Tax Administration. “In almost eight years I have paid 34,000 euros and I still have to pay 400 euros a month. I want them to close the file and that I can move on with a clean slate.”
Sanches hopes that the (former) executives at the Tax Administration will admit their mistakes. “So far they point their finger at others and hide behind legislation. but do not look at the welfare of parents and children. There are people of flesh and blood working, right? I hope those responsible will be punished.”
Sanches told us last year how the tax authorities used to determine her life: