The court is remarkably sharp in the verdict and asks, among other things, whether “the judge can still believe the tax authorities”. That reports from us. The case revolves around a private company owned by a married couple and managed by several other limited liability companies. After an employee of one of these BVs was checked for possible child benefit fraud, an inspector from the Emmen tax office decided to also subject the BV owners to an inspection.
According to the entrepreneur and his wife, the tax and customs authorities assumed, without examining the content, that they were not acting in good faith privately, whereupon they accused them of gross fraud and initiated investigations. This led to higher tax assessments, subsequent assessments and comparisons.
It also emerged that one of the shareholders had been unknowingly included in the controversial Fraud Signaling Facility, a sort of blacklist by the tax authorities that listed people as possible fraudsters.
Last year, the Dutch Data Protection Authority ruled that with this list, the Tax and Customs Administration had seriously violated the basic principles of data protection law, the GDPR. In the court’s view, it is plausible that the inclusion on that list had a significant impact on the treatment of the company by the tax authorities.
Four hundred blue envelopes
The entrepreneur and his wife, who brought the case to court, have been pursued by the tax authorities for years. During that time, about 400 blue envelopes landed on the doormat and more than 100 objections were filed by the couple.
“The physical and psychological toll of receiving hundreds of blue envelopes and the misunderstanding of what happened to them has taken and continues to take its toll,” they said at the hearing. One of them is receiving medical treatment for burnout symptoms.
Inspector: “Not acted lightly”
The tax inspector told the court he “understood that the scrutiny was felt to be severe”. The person who carried out the check was known to the tax authorities for their strict approach, according to the inspector of the Emmen office. This person no longer works as a responsible person. Nevertheless, the examiner states that “the tax authorities have not acted negligently”.
The Council Richter that the couple’s appeal against the tax authorities is justified and states that the examiner has to pay 25,000 euros as a contribution to the legal costs and reimburse the court fee paid. The examiner also promised that outstanding subsequent assessments and payroll taxes would be destroyed.
Several MEPs, including Renske Leijten (SP) and Pieter Omtzigt (independent member), have asked the State Secretary for Finance questions about the verdict.