Duped parents still left out in the cold by dithering tax office despite promises

Photo: Joep Poulssen
Photo: Joep Poulssen

A group of 400 to 500 parents who have found themselves in great financial difficulties as a result of a heavy-handed tax office fraud campaign will not be compensated in the very near future, internal tax office documents seen by RTL and newspaper Trouw show.

The tax office, which has been accused of using nationality as a basis for deciding to investigate the parents, may have to compensate around 26,000 families for unjustifiably stopping their child benefits between 2014 and 2016 because of ‘indications of fraud’.

One group has been given priority because they have been very hard hit by tax office demands they pay back the money, sometimes running into tens of thousands of euros.

However, sources told Trouw and RTL that a decision about a ‘generous treatment’ of these parents has been held up by politicians and civil servants because of fears the number of parents who have been severely duped is much bigger than anticipated and more people will claim compensation.

Another reason for the pay out delays is the lack of staff at the organisation that has been tasked with the payments to parents, Trouw said.

High priority

Although junior finance minister Alexandra van Huffelen told MPs that compensation pay outs may take longer than anticipated, she said she expects people will be helped on a ‘large scale’ from November and that parents who have particularly severe problems will be treated with ‘high priority’.

But according to the documents, which include the minutes of a meeting of tax chiefs and the ministry of social affairs, only 40 out of 26,000 cases will be processed in the next few months. The ministry also advised that the number of 40 ‘should not be mentioned’.

Van Huffelen will have to answer MPs questions about the handling of the affair in an unscheduled debate on Thursday.

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