Tax authority's dodgy fraud accusations also extended to income tax declarations: report

Belastingdienst Amsterdam
Belastingdienst AmsterdamBICWikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA

The Tax Authority's tendency to label people as fraudsters based on profiling and suspicions also extended to income tax declarations, RTL Nieuws and Trouw report based on confidential documents, released documents, and discussions with people involved. According to the news agencies, tens of thousands of people were labeled fraudsters, had to prove their innocence themselves, and sometimes struggled with the tax authorities for years afterwards.

It was already known that the Tax Authority wrongly labeled a large number of parents as fraudsters and halted their childcare allowance as a result. And that a second nationality was one of the criteria the Tax Authority used to subject people to stricter checks. According to RTL and Trouw, these practices also extended to income tax declarations, under the code name 'project 1043' launched in 2012. The starting point of this project was to "annoyingly track potential abusers," the news agencies wrote

Fraud investigations were launched against citizens because they had a tax advisor the Tax Authority considered a "facilitator" to fraud, for example. Certain deductions could also trigger an investigation, including high healthcare costs, gifts, or spending on pension. The suspected citizens often had to pay substantial amounts in extra tax charges, because previously approved deductibles were rejected. And afterwards they lived with extra checks and under stricter supervision for years, because they had been labeled fraudsters, according to RTL and Trouw.

SP parliamentarian Renske Leijten, who has been a driving force behind the investigation into the Tax Authority's abuses in the childcare allowance affair, called this new revelation "unfortunately no surprise". "What is painful is that this has persisted after the allowance affair. You expect some self-correcting ability, but time and time again the media reveal that things go wrong," she said to RTL.