Tax Authority discriminated against parents with dual nationality: Privacy regulator
For years the Tax Authority discriminated against parents with a dual nationality when they applied for childcare allowance. The tax office should have removed dual citizenship registration from their database in 2014, but in May 2018, over 1.4 million people were still registered in this way in the system - affecting their chances of getting an allowance, the Dutch Personal Data Protection Authority (AP) said in a report on Friday, NU.nl reports.
The AP called the processing of a second nationality "unlawful, discriminatory, and therefore improper", speaking of a "serious violation of the privacy law". Having a second passport must play no role in Dutch citizens' chance of claiming benefits and allowances. And still the Tax Authority used dual nationality as a criteria for extra fraud controls, among other things, the authority concluded.
AP chairman Aleid Wolfsen added that the Tax Authority also did not cooperate well with this investigation. "We were misled several times," Wolfsen said. "The truth was not immediately spoken." The Tax Authority initially denied that it had a register of dual citizenship, he said. "To get the right information out, we sometimes had to push, pull and drag."
It is now up to State Secretary Alexandra van Huffelen to decide which measures need to be taken. In a reaction to parliament, she called the AP's findings "very serious". "The prohibition on discrimination must be strictly respected. Equal cases should be treated equally. I would therefore like to offer my sincere apologies for this," she said.
Van Huffelen stressed that dual nationalities have been removed from the Tax Authority's systems and that measures are being taken to prevent similar mistakes in the future.