Mandarin Caste of Holland II

Earlier I wrote how our national tax office, the Belastingdienst, throw away citizens’ tax declarations, with the aim of collecting a fine for failing the compulsory yearly tax declaration. A blog entry I had clearly written in anger, reading it back now. This happens in cases when citizens don’t use the government’s digital program for tax declarations, called DigiD. This program is of poor quality and unsafe, it even has been hacked recently. I am one of those who cannot use it. I had to request an admission code and even that had failed.

Through the years I have grown used to the fact that my tax declaration had gone missing with them and that the Belastingdienst had ordered me to send in once more. I sent a copy over the fax, then. Since two years our Belastingdienst is entitled to impose breathtakingly high fines on late or non-sending in the yearly tax declaration. This is great news to them of course and immediately their fax number and email address have vanished. So there’s no possibility anymore to send in a copy of your tax declaration, or even correspond on the issue without third party witness, other than by registered letter. Any analogue correspondence by paper, stamped mail is ignored by our national tax office.

Here’s an update on my situation these last two years: it was no option to request their DigiD code for a digital tax declaration, so I had to request their paper sheet for the years 2009 and 2010. I filled it out, sent it to their office and was ignored. As for the year 2009: twice I had to send a photocopy, months later, before the tax office bothered to look at it; I have been fined for late declaration, my complaint against ignoring my declaration and their ill-handling is handled in court now. Same thing happened for fiscal year 2010. I have approached our National Ombudsman for both episodes. And I have refused to send in another copy for the year 2010. The National Ombudsman has seen the photocopies of my tax declaration and that should be enough. However, my tax officer (it appears every citizen has a tax officer in this country) gave me a phonecall. A friendly, even pleasant call it was: ‘No I hadn’t sent in my tax declaration because a photocopy isn’t good enough’. Don’t they recognize my handwriting, bank accounts etc by now? I had to request another copy of the paper sheet. I said they should make it as easy, low cost as possible for me, because they want something from me and not the other way round, therefor they should have sent it without any question from my side. So in the end the tax officer promised to send me another copy, in order that I fill it out and I may send it directly to him, so it won’t be thrown away again and no fine will be imposed. I expressed my thanks and satisfaction in exchange for a written confirmation of the conversation. All’s well that ends well? I wish! I did receive the letter and the new tax declaration sheet, but not a word of the promise not to impose a fine! Of course they hope it will be my word against theirs. Must I tape my phone calls too!? So will I hand in my tax declaration? There’s a month left…

To be continued, @D

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