Tax auth. left 232 families in "impossible position" by stopping childcare allowance: Ombudsman

In 2014 the Tax Authority wrongly stopped the childcare allowance for 232 families, National Ombudsman Reinier van Zutphen said in a report published on Wednesday .The Tax office took this measure because of suspicions that the allowance may have been misused, but did not take into account the serious financial consequences the measure would have for the affected parents, the Ombudsman said, ANP reports.

"The Tax Authority left the parents in an impossible position, major financial problems and long term uncertainty", Van Zutphen said. 

The Tax office first stopped the allowance, then asked the families for clarification and evidence. The families also had to pay back previous years' childcare allowances. Many parents were therefore left with financial problems and had to take their child out of childcare. 

"The Tax Authority must consider the citizens' perspective. That means a proportionate and cautious approach, which does not make innocent victims. In this case the Tax Authority declared all 232 involved guilty in advance by stopping the childcare allowance", Van Zutphen said. "That has to be different in future actions, and in this case the affected families deserve compensation." Van Zutphen also wants the Tax Authority to apologize to the parents.

The Tax office promised to change its procedures and to inform the Ombudsman about it.