Tax office hard to reach by phone; Waiting times up to an hour
The National Ombudsman reprimanded the Tax Authority for being hard to reach by phone. The Ombudsman received countless complaints, reporting that waiting times of over an hour are no exception. People also report that the connection is automatically dropped after 60 minutes on hold, RTL Nieuws reports.
The Tax Authority promised improvement. But in the meantime, people with questions about their taxes have nowhere else to turn.
There is no alternative for the Tax Authority’s telephone number, a spokesperson for the tax office confirmed to the broadcaster. “If we open a second number, it only has the effect of spreading the same number of calls between two numbers,” he said. “If we open a separate number for urgent cases, you can be sure that everyone considers themselves an urgent case.”
On Facebook, complaints about the Tax Authority’s telephone line are also raining in. “I’ve been trying to contact you for weeks, but I just can’t get through the queue! How can I ask my personal question now? Because you can still send reminders,” one person wrote on the tax office’s Facebook page.
According to the Tax Authority, the enormous waiting times have three causes: staff shortage, absenteeism due to illness, and a combination of circumstances resulting in more people needing questions answered. As an example, the spokesperson mentioned people wanting to know about repaying coronavirus support.
“I can only advise you not to call at lunchtime or at 5:00 p.m. Then we often see the waiting times increase exponentially. Try at different times at the edges of the day, then the waiting times are often shorter,” the spokesperson said.
He stressed that anyone who clearly gets into trouble because they couldn’t reach the Tax Authority would get leniency. “An inspector will act accordingly afterward. But at the same time: laws and time limits are there for a reason.”