Finance should have tackled Tax office's discriminatory manual, official says
The Ministry of Finance did not respond to the discriminatory manual used by the Tax Authority to deal with possible fraudsters when it first learned of it. "In retrospect," it should have, a spokesperson for State Secretary Marnix van Rij (Tax Authority) said after reporting by Trouw. The newspaper wrote that the Ministry knew about the manual since January last year.
The document told tax workers what to look for when checking incorrectly completed tax returns. This included personal characteristics like nationality or appearance. Suspected fraudsters ended up on the Tax Authority's "blocklist" and suffered severe consequences. For example, people on the list could not get debt restructuring.
According to the spokesperson, documents released through the Government Information (Public Access) Act (Wob) indeed show that information about the manual was sent to Finance at the end of 2020. People at the Tax Authority already raised the alarm about the manual in July 2020, the Trouw wrote. The use of the document was halted with immediate effect.
According to the spokesperson, it is impossible to reconstruct why the Ministry did not act. Accountancy firm PwC, which is investigating the tax office's fraud detection system (FSV), recently reported that the information management about the system was inadequate. It is often impossible to find out why people ended up on the list.
Van Rij called PwC's recent conclusions "serious." According to him, the section criteria are "reprehensible" and "discriminatory."
Reporting by ANP