The Dutch government is willing to contribute up to 1 billion euros to a yet-to-be-established European fund aimed at dealing with the coronavirus, Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance said. Countries hit hard by Covid-19 and that are not in good financial health can turn to the fund to finance medical aid. "I am thinking roughly of a few hundred million to 1 billion euros," Hoekstra said to NU.nl on Wednesday.
The relationship between Italy and the Netherlands has not deteriorated due to the lack of European support to save the Italian economy, Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in an interview with the Telegraaf. "The friendship with the Dutch people remains in tact."
For years the Tax Authority had hard targets for amounts that had to be recovered from paid allowances. If they did not reach these targets, they had to scrutinize more potential fraudsters to achieve the 'minimum yield', Trouw and RTL Nieuws report based on their own research.
The Netherlands and France are in discussions regarding the Dutch government selling its shares in Dutch airline KLM, the French ambassador in The Hague confirmed to BNR and Financieele Dagblad.
The Netherlands owns 6 percent shares in KLM and 14 percent shares in Air France-KLM. That is more than the French government's shares, making the situation "out of balance", French ambassador Luis Vassy said to the news agencies.
In 2014, top officials warned then Minister Lodewijk Asscher and State Secretary Erik Wiebes that the Tax Authority's hunt for fraud was going too far and leaving thousands of families in financial difficulties. But instead of intervening, they ignored the problem, according to Follow The Money's study of confidential documents, RTL Nieuws reports.
There are major doubts in parliament about D66 Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra's plans to reorganize the Tax Authority, including from the coalition parties themselves, was revealed during a debate about the Tax Authority with Hoekstra and Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Tuesday, NOS reports.
Hoekstra plans to split the Tax Authorities into three parts - Customs, Allowances, and Taxes. Each part will have its own official leadership, and two State Secretaries will be appointed to be politically responsible for the service. Who the two State Secretaries will be, is not yet known.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte met with a group of 200 parents who were unjustly labeled fraudsters by the Tax Authority and had their childcare allowance halted as a result. During the emotional meeting, Rutte apologized for the Tax Authority's actions in this affair and listened to parents' stories. Some stories made him shed a tear, he said after the meeting, NU.nl reports.
Queen Maxima and Prime Minister Mark Rutte will lead the Dutch delegation at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos this week. The Queen will attend the entire Forum in her capacity as special advocate of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for Inclusive Financing for Development. The Prime Minister will join the meetings later in the week.
The government wants two State Secretaries to succeed the resigned Menno Snel, who was responsible for the Tax Authority as State Secretary of Finance. The problems at the Tax Authority are too large for one person to handle, sources involved told broadcaster NOS.
Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance believes that too many people in the Netherlands buy things on credit, and as a result an "unacceptably high" number of Dutch are in arrears on their payments. He is therefore giving online stores a year to improve this situation, or he will take measures himself, he wrote in a letter to parliament, the Telegraaf reports.
People who called the Tax Authority with a query this year, often found it impossible to speak to a tax employee. The Allowances department in particular is very hard to reach, with less than two in ten callers being answered at the lowest point this year, according to an analysis by Nd.nl.
If there are insufficient employees available to take calls, callers are notified that the Tax Authority is "closed". The office wants to avoid long waiting times in this way.
Menno Snel announced his resignation from the Dutch Cabinet over a scandal in the tax office where hundreds of parents lost childcare benefits unjustly, a mistake that could cost the Dutch public over 8.6 million euros.
The government will compensate around 270 parents whose childcare allowance was halted after unjust fraud allegations. Their compensation will be in their account before Christmas, by around December 20th, State Secretary Menno Snel of Finance said in a letter sent to parliament on Tuesday.
The Tax Authority released the files of some parents whose childcare allowance was halted because they were unjustly suspected of fraud, at the parents' request because they wanted to know what led to these suspicions. But to the fury of a number of parliamentarians, large parts of the documents are completely blacked-out, according to a video SP parliamentarian Renske Leijten posted on Twitter.
Tax Authority employees don't feel safe at work, union FNV reports based on a survey among a thousand employees. Almost all respondents report an unsafe atmosphere at the workplace. People who are critical about the policy are reprimanded by managers and supervisors, with some even losing their job as a result, respondents said, NU.nl reports.
State Secretary Menno Snel of Finance has known for some time that the number of victims whose childcare allowance was wrongfully halted is much larger than he told the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, RTL Nieuws and Trouw report based on confidential reports in their possession.
Snel knew about the documents and their content for a long time, but withheld them from the Tweede Kamer, which has been asking about it for around 18 months, according to the news agencies.
The Netherlands and eight other European countries are calling on the European Union to implement a tax on air travel. The governments of the nine countries signed a manifesto calling on the European Commission to come up with a proposal on this front, which will be handed to European Commissioner Frans Timmermans.
The European Commission wants to substantially increase the Dutch contribution to the European Union budget in the coming years. The Netherlands' contribution next year amounts to 8.1 billion euros. If the European Commission has its way, that will increase to 13 billion euros by 2027 - an increase of no less than 60 percent, the Ministry of Finance confirmed to RTL Z after reports in Financieele Dagblad.
Big businesses in the Netherlands paid significantly less taxes between 2008 and 2017. The so-called tax burden, the tax that large companies actually pay, decreased from 22.9 percent to 17.1 percent in the past year, while the rates have not changed, Statistics Netherlands concluded in a study commissioned by the parliamentary committee on finance.
Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance is "very satisfied" with the agreement the EU Finance Minsters reached about the so-called eurozone budget, calling it a "fruitful result for Dutch tax payers". "We have taken important steps towards better spending of EU money", the Dutch Finance Minister said in Luxembourg on Thursday, AD reports.
Parties in the Tweede Kamer are doubtful about whether the Dutch State's purchase of 750 million euros in Air France-KLM shares is having the promised effect. Coalition party D66 and opposition parties PvdA and PVV, among others, want Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra to show how the government's purchase of these shares improved KLM's position in the airline combination, NOS reports.
The Public Prosecutor launched a criminal investigation into ABN Amro for money laundering and terrorism financing. The bank is suspected of reporting suspicious transactions late or not at all, and not screening its clients properly, NOS reports.
A spokesperson for ABN Amro confirmed to NOS that the bank was informed of the investigation on Wednesday. Other than that ABN Amro is fully cooperating in the investigation, the bank would say nothing further.
Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance does not want to outright ban a negative interest rate on savings. Such a "hard ban" would be a "very significant intervention in the market" which can have negative effects, he said in response to parliamentary questions from the CDA and PvdA, NU.nl reports.
Top officials from the Tax Authority knowingly allowed an illegal fraud hunt on childcare allowance recipients that has been dragging on since 2014, Trouw and RTL Nieuws report based on their own research into documents received through the Open Government Act.