Two foreign ambassadors on Dutch tax office's fraud list
The Tax Authority's secret fraud blocklist, which contained the names of hundreds of thousands of citizens without them ever being informed about it, also included the names of two foreign ambassadors, Trouw reports. The Tax Authority has been consulting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for weeks on how to handle this sensitive situation.
How the ambassadors ended up on the fraud list is not clear. Ambassadors fall under the International Tax Treatment team at the Tax Authority. In principle, they are subject to tax in the Netherlands, but often not for their entire income. The Tax Authority would not tell Trouw which countries the involved ambassadors represent "because of traceability and privacy legislation."
"Given the importance of due care and respect for the international context, contact was first made with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about how to act in these kinds of situations," a spokesperson for the Tax Authority said to the newspaper. "The Tax Authority is currently looking into how this process should be continued with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also taking into account privacy laws and regulations."
Trouw and RTL Nieuws revealed the existence of the Tax Authority's secret fraud list early in 2020. Some 270,0000 citizens were listed as potential fraudsters, often without evidence. The Tax Authority never informed them about the suspicions, so they could not defend themselves against it. The tax office kept this list for over 20 years.
In October last year, the Dutch Data Protection Authority ruled that the Tax Authority seriously violated privacy legislation with this list. Two weeks ago, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) concluded that the Tax Authority assessed people for possible fraud based on their nationality and appearance. In response, two victims in the childcare allowance scandal and a childminder agency accused of fraud pressed discrimination charges against the Tax Authority.