Tax system should be overhauled: Finance secretary

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State secretary for Finance, Eric Wiebes, says it may be years before the Tax Administration is entirely functional again, and is not ruling out new incidents with tax returns, the Algemeen Dagblad reports. 

"A growing number of schemes that the Tax Administration will have to carry out is not possible according to practical standards", the state secretary says.

Wiebes makes this warning in his new broad agenda for the Tax Administration, which he sent to Parliament today. The last four months, Wiebes has audited the treasury. His conclusion is that the Tax Administration is "a good, professional organization", but that politics has been making far too high demands in the last ten years.

Wiebes points out that many processes around the tax collection still date back to 1968. "In that year, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were murdered and the Maagdenhuis possession still had to take place." The state secretary says that internal processes have to improve, just as the ICT. He warns for too high expectations.

"Real results may only be visible in five years. There is no quick solution. Schemes have to be simplified and the ICT structure has to evolve further. The problem has taken form in 10 years and will not be solved in days. Unfortunately, I have not found a magic button in the last three months"

The state secretary has appealed to Parliament to get the Tax Administration on top of it. They have to make sure that the work becomes easier for the treasury. "We have to make sure together that the new tax legislation is easier to carry out. Otherwise things keep going wrong."

Last month, Wiebes discouraged the new household surcharge, with which the Cabinet hoped to save €1 billion. The surcharge seems too complicated to impose in a short time frame. "The Cabinet reacted surprised", Wiebes says. "Luckily my colleagues are wise and saw quickly that it really couldn't work."

According to Wiebes, politicians as well as citizens expect too much from the treasury. He cites as an example the 30,000 families who received their allowances late in December. "That is really not nice for the people, but we pay monthly eigh million allowances. These kinds of mistake will keep happening, even if everything works well."