Tax office chief quits job on the side

The head of the Dutch tax service Jenny Thunnissen has resigned from her second job as a hospital supervisory board member to avoid a conflict of interest over tax dodging.

The announcement was made by junior finance minister Jan Kees de Jager after Wednesday night’s parliamentary debate on the issue.
Thunnissen took the decision to avoid damaging the reputation of both the tax office and the Delft hospital where she was also employed, De Jager said.
Delft is one of 76 hospitals accused of avoiding tax on the purchase of new equipment, the NRC reported on Wednesday.
The paper said the hospitals have been given a combined surcharge of €104m for tax avoidance.
Thunnissen denied knowledge of the tax dodging schemes and said she would never have cooperated with working out such schemes.
De Jager told MPs that the hospital job, which was a paid position, was known to the authorities and was in line with the rules.
However, tax professor Jaap Zwemmer told the NRC on Thursday that Thunnissen’s extra job did conflict with civil service integrity rules. ‘As the most senior civil servant, you have to be whiter than white. There should be no doubts about that.’
The tax office has been at the centre of a number of major rows in recent weeks over large-scale failures and computer breakdowns. Most recently it emerged that 750,000 electronic tax returns will have to be re-filed because tax office computers could not read them properly.

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