Tax office takes museum card association to court over visit info

Photo: DutchNews.nl

The tax office is taking the Dutch museum association to court because it refuses to hand over details about a museum card holder’s visits.

The association is responsible for the popular museum card which entitles users to free or reduced price visits in hundreds of the country’s museums. Some 1.3 million people in the Netherlands have a museum card.

The tax office first asked for details of the card holder’s museum visits in March 2017 but the association says it has ‘repeatedly’ refused to hand over the information. ‘We will defend our card holders’ privacy to the highest European court if necessary,’ the organisation said.




Not only is the tax office’s request an infringement of privacy rules, but using the card says nothing about who the owner actually is, the association said. Museum cards have only carried photos since 2017.

‘We want all card holders to feel free to discover museums in the Netherlands,’ the association said. ‘A card holder should be able to assume the information will be kept confidential and treated with the greatest of care.’

Car number plates

The tax office has been pushing the boundaries of information gathering about potential tax cheats for years.

In 2017, the supreme court said 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.

In 2014, however, the tax office won the legal right to require mobile car parking services such as Yellowbrick to hand over client details so it can check up on fraud.

The appeal court said handing over the information does conflict with privacy legislation but said this is outweighed by the public interest and need to levy correct amounts of tax.


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