Tax collection under threat as tax office struggles with 600 IT systems

Photo: Joep Poulssen via Wikimedia Commons

The Dutch tax office IT systems have so many flaws that the collection of taxes could be under threat, according to an internal document seen by the Volkskrant.

The paper used freedom of information legislation to access the results of an internal evaluation of the department’s IT systems and requirements. The report shows that the tax office uses around 600 different IT systems to carry out its work.

Earlier this year the Dutch auditor general concluded that tax collection was at risk because of organisational problems, referring the situation as a ‘time bomb’. The internal evaluation also states that ‘The continuity of the collection process is not guaranteed,’ the Volkskrant says.

The tax authorities say that knowledge about the existing, often ageing systems is rapidly disappearing because the people would could operate them are retiring or have resigned. A large part of the systems no longer meet current standards, but tax officials have to continue working with them because they are not being upgraded.

In a reaction, a spokesman told the Volkskrant that the service is currently updating and increasing the efficiency of all its systems. The internal evaluation itself says all the systems should to be up and running by 2020, the paper said.