Tax authority told not to reveal income data on social renters

The tax authorities may not hand over income details about social housing tenants to housing corporations, the administrative division of the Council of State ruled on Wednesday., NU reports.

According to the Finance State Secretary, tenants can not object to this happening, because since 2013 the Tax Office is required by law to share that information. Lessors and landlords need the information so that they can raise the rent for higher income groups in social housing more than for lower income groups. The intention behind this measure is to encourage higher income groups to move out of social housing and to stop so-called skewed living - living in a house above or below your income level.

The administrative law division, however, determined that for this to be done, the obligation must be "clearly and expressly" stated in the law. Something which is not currently the case. In principle the tax authorities may not share information with others unless the law explicitly obligates them to do so. According to the Council of State, the government can not just assume such an obligation, even if the obligation is necessary to effectively use another legislation.

Housing Minister Stef Blok will write a letter to the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, on the matter later on Wednesday. Housing corporation dome Aedes first wants time to study the verdict.

The question now is, what will happen with the rent increases that were implemented over the past three years, based on income information the tax authorities were not allowed to hand over. According to the Financieele Dagblad, the Council of State did not explicitly rule on this matter, because the individual who filed the lawsuit complained about the sharing of personal information in principle. The tenant did not get a higher rent increase based on his income, because his income was not high enough.

The ruling does seem to clear the way for tenants who want to demand a reverse on income-related rent increases.

Tenants association Woonbond told NU that they assume there will be no income-related rent increases this year, because it is too late to change the law.