Tax minister is hogging headlines

Junior finance minister Kees Jan de Jager, in charge of the nation’s taxes, is a bit of a headline hogger at the moment.

First we have the head of the tax office stepping down from one of her other jobs to avoid claims of conflict of interest.
Jenny Thunnissen, a career civil servant, doubtless earns a fair old whack in charge of our taxes, but apparently still needed to earn more as a member of a hospital supervisory board – a hospital embroiled in tax avoidance accusations .
De Jager, under fire in parliament, is adamant that there is no conflict of interest, even though supervisory board members are supposed to check the account books of their organisations.
Meanwhile the tax office has been hammered in recent months for a number of serious failings. Perhaps De Jager could make sure Thunissen concentrates on doing one job properly in future?
The junior minister is also under attack for the government’s plans to bring in an extra tax on air travel from July – €11.25 per person on a flight under 2,500 km and €45 for longer flights, but nothing at all for transit passengers.
Of course the exemption for transit passengers couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that De Jager doesn’t want to hurt this lucrative sector (which accounts for 40% of all flights at Schiphol airport and generates lots of jobs). Could it?
The eco-tax on air travel has been on the cards since last year’s budget. But De Jager has only just started muttering about exempting popular destinations like the Canary Islands and Turkey from the hike. Just in time for the holiday season.

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