The Tax Authority suspended the provisional tax refund of 124,000 people in January, a significant increase compared to the between 79 thousand and 82 thousand halted in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Thousands of these suspensions were unjustified and many of the affected persons were only notified about the suspension in mid-January, when they should already have received their money, RTL Nieuws reports.
The tax climate in the Netherlands, and the room it offers for letterbox companies and tax avoidance, costs the world an estimated 22 billion euros a year, according to calculations by economics professor Arjan Lejour of Tilburg University, Trouw reports.
Lejour based his calculations on the average results of 10 international investigations into global tax breaks. He then calculated the Netherlands' share based on the foreign investments that enter the country, and then immediately leave again.
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.
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.
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.
A Tax Authority building on Kloosterweg in Heerlen was evacuated on Friday morning after the discovery of a package containing a powder substance, the Limburg police said on Twitter.
The police are currently investigating what substance the package contained. The building was evacuated as a precaution.
A dispatcher sent firefighter equipment, and requested police assistance at the scene just before 9:30 a.m. The situation was escalated to a GRIP 1 at 10:10 a.m. That means that a commanding officer from one of the emergency services takes command of the entire scene.
Every year around 13 billion euros of criminal money is laundered in the Netherlands, according to a study by Brigitte Unger, Professor of Economics at Utrecht University. Laundered criminal money accounts for around 1.6 percent of the Dutch economy, she concluded,Financieele Dagblad reports.
The majority of this laundered criminal money comes from the Netherlands itself. Criminals earn around 16 billion euros in the Netherlands through their criminal practices per year. About half of that amount is also laundered in the Netherlands.
For years the Tax Authority ignored internal reports and complaints about the way it treats citizens. The service wrongly demanded money back from tens of thousands of people, without handling their complaints about it, and ignored former tax official Pierre Niessen when he reported this to the highest level, Niessen said in a letter sent to parliament, RTL Nieuws, and Trouw.
There is a culture of fear within the Tax Authority, Niessen said, resulting in his colleagues being afraid to report issues to their managers.
The tax agreements the Netherlands made with Starbucks are not equivalent to state aid, the European General Court ruled on Tuesday, annulling a previous ruling by the European Commission.
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.
Banning cash payments of over 3 thousand euros, regulating cryptocurrencies, and calling for the 500 euros banknote to be taken out of circulations are two of a large package of measures against money laundering that Ministers Wopke Hoekstra of Finance and Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security sent to parliament on Monday.
Amsterdam is giving a task force established to combat violence and threats against business owners one year to come up with measures to combat this problem. The time limit is necessary because the number of ATM bombings and incidents involving hand grenades increased since last year. "The risks for entrepreneurs and local residents are unacceptable", mayor Femke Halsema said in a letter to the city council, AT5 reports.
State Secretary Menno Snel of Finance limited the investigation into mistakes made by the Tax Authority while canceling childcare allowances. The investigators Snel himself hired explicitly wanted to do a broader investigation, but Snel refused, RTL Nieuws and Trouw report.
Over the past 12 years the Dutch Tax Authority incorrectly paid out 24 billion euros in allowances. The majority of this amount was recovered, but 1.5 billion euros is still outstanding and the Tax Authority wrote 806 million euros off as "irrecoverable", according to figures requested by Nieuws en Co and Nieuwsuur.
Since 2005, the Tax Authority paid out 150 billion euros in childcare allowance, rent allowance, healthcare allowance, and child-related budget. 16 percent of these payments, involving an amount of 24 billion euros, were wrongly paid.
The Dutch data protection authority AP is investigating possible ethnic profiling by the Tax Authority. There are indications that the Tax Authority used information about people's second nationality to determine whose childcare allowance was halted, RTL Nieuws and Trouw report.
More investigators and customs officers are needed to combat drug crime in the port of Rotterdam, according to Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb. The Rotterdam mayor calls on the government to structurally tackle undermining crime, NOS reports.
Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security wants stricter legislation to prevent mayors from being threatened. The maximum prison sentence for threatening a public official must be increased from two to four years, and the Minister is also looking into how the government can confiscate more money and possessions from serious criminals, he said in an interview with the Telegraaf.
The police are busy with a major action in The Hague, particularly focused on the Ypenburg district, on Tuesday morning. Over 30 apartments were raided in the early morning hours. The police suspect that criminals stay in these apartments - they're rented out, but officially no one is registered as living there, NOS reports.