Saturday 15 August 2020

Dutch supreme court slams tax office over company car checks

Photo: Jarino via

The tax office must stop checking car number plates recorded on police motorway cameras in their efforts to catch people who cheat on their company car allowance, the supreme court said on Friday.

There is insufficient provision in law to allow the tax office to use the scans to check if people are using company cars for private business, the court said.

The court was judging three separate cases brought by people who were given a tax surcharge after officials said their cars were not where they should have been according to their kilometer log.

Company car drivers have to pay extra tax if they use their vehicles to travel more than 500 km a year for private purposes and have to keep a log of their movements to prove it.


The court ruled that using the motorway surveillance footage is a major infringement of people’s privacy and that there is no legal basis for the systematic collection, processing and storing of such information.

Two cases were referred back to the lower courts to be reconsidered without the camera evidence. A third was thrown out altogether.

Tax inspectors already use cars fitted with special scanners in an effort to track down people who use their company cars for private business. Festivals, out-of-town shopping centres, sports events and other popular destinations are targeted in particular.

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