Parents victimized by tax office scandal have to wait even longer for compensation
From next month, the government will work almost exclusively on compensating victims in the benefits scandal who were given priority by a court. That means parents who have not gone to court will have to wait even longer for compensation, the Volkskrant reports.
More and more parents victimized in the scandal are turning to court because they are tired of waiting years for their cases to be assessed. The court usually rules in their favor because the Tax Authority exceeded the legal term of one year for giving victims clarity on whether or not they’ll get compensation. In March, the courts handled 88 such cases. In May, there were 280, according to the newspaper.
Responsible State Secretary Aukje de Vries expects the Tax Authority to reach the tipping point in August. Then the entire capacity of the Implementing Body for Recovery in Allowances (UHT) will go to victimized parents who have a court ruling behind them.
As a result, the parents who haven’t gone to court will wait longer for their cases to be assessed. According to the latest planning, victimized parents who registered their case at the end of 2021 or this year will only be due for an integral assessment in 2025 or 2026. The waiting times could increase if more people go to court.
In the benefits scandal, the Tax Authority unjustly labeled thousands of parents as fraudsters, often using ethnic profiling to do so, and ordered them to repay all the childcare allowance they received. This left many in financial difficulties. In some cases, child protection services even ended up placing children out of their parents' homes.
So far, about 53,000 parents have come forward as victims. The UHT is responsible for assessing their cases. The first step is a “light test,” which so far identified 26,000 parents as recognized victims. Most of them received 30,000 euros in compensation while they wait for the next step - the integral assessment to determine the exact amount of compensation they are entitled to. People rejected in the light test can also request such an assessment.
To date, the UHT completed 12,000 integral assessments, mostly of parents who registered as victims in 2020, according to the newspaper.
The National Ombudsman recently criticized the long waiting times, saying it leaves already victimized parents in uncertainty for too long. He suggested the government look at reaching settlement agreements with some parents to settle the damage more quickly.
The government is experimenting to see whether this is feasible. Fifteen parents are participating in the experiment to see if they can agree on the financial damage that must be compensated in a few talks with the government.