Finance should have tackled discriminatory tax manual, official says

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The Ministry of Finance did not respond to the discriminatory manual used by the tax administration to deal with possible fraudsters when it first learned of it. “In retrospect” that should have been the case, a spokesman for State Secretary Marnix van Rij (Tax Authority) said after reporting by Trouw. The newspaper wrote that the ministry had been aware of the manual since January last year.

The document told tax professionals what to look for when checking poorly completed tax returns. This included personal characteristics like nationality or appearance. The alleged fraudsters ended up on the “black list” of the tax authorities and suffered serious consequences. For example, people on the list could not benefit from debt restructuring.

According to the spokesperson, documents released under the Government Information (Public Access) Act (Wob) indeed show that information about the manual was sent to finance at the end of 2020. Administration people have already sounded the alarm about the manual in July. 2020, wrote the Trouw. Use of the document has been discontinued with immediate effect.

According to the spokesperson, it is impossible to reconstruct why the ministry did not act. Accounting firm PwC, which is investigating the tax office’s fraud detection system (FSV), recently reported that the information management on the system was inadequate. It is often impossible to know why people ended up on the list.

Van Rij called PwC’s recent findings “serious.” According to him, the criteria of the article are “reprehensible” and “discriminatory”.

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