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Project 1043: tax and customs services have been labeling citizens as possible fraudsters for many years

In July, the so-called "Bulgarian scandal" continued. The press published several materials at once that the tax and ...

In July, the so-called "Bulgarian scandal" continued. Several materials were published in the press at once that the tax and customs services of the Netherlands, in violation of the law, for years labeled people as potential fraudsters on the basis of "deviation from the norm" and their origin. Parliamentarians propose to introduce the post of tax ombudsman, and tens of thousands of ordinary taxpayers are still under pressure from the fiscal services.


This story began in 2012. Then the tax authorities began investigating illegal schemes for obtaining subsidies, including for paying for kindergarten. These schemes were called "Bulgarian", as the first to use them were immigrants from Bulgaria.


How did the circuit work?

People from "conditional" Bulgaria came to the Netherlands, registered under fictitious rental contracts, received BSN, DigID and left back. Already at home, they took out loans and subsidies. The biggest violations were related to subsidies for kindergarten fees.

The investigation took place within the framework of "Project 1043", with the help of which

the tax and customs administrations were about to fight "systemic fraud."

After the disclosure of the "Bulgarian" scheme, the finance minister and the head of the Dutch tax service lost their posts, and the service itself underwent a large-scale reorganization.

And everything would have ended well if tens of thousands of law-abiding citizens did not fall into the category of "unreliable" in the course of putting things in order.

Those who received subsidies for real children were obliged to return huge sums to the budget, which sometimes amounted to tens of thousands of euros. People declared themselves bankrupt, got divorced or left the country, but could do nothing and continued to return subsidies to the state.

Legal proceedings with the tax service began almost immediately and are still ongoing. Last year, all lawsuits were consolidated into a collective complaint.

In the course of these proceedings, it turned out that the tax office may have flagged taxpayers as possible fraudsters. In practice, this boiled down to mass identification of citizens who had dual citizenship or moved from Eastern European countries.

Such a procedure runs counter to several important laws, including the law on confidentiality, and also constitutes direct discrimination by origin. The combination of errors in the tax return (“deviation from the norm”) and origin gave an almost one hundred percent guarantee of being on the list of potential fraudsters. This status means that the person's declarations will be under special control for six years. The possibility of revising the declarations filed in previous years is also allowed.

It turned out that citizens who filed tax returns with high medical and pension costs and hoped to receive income tax refunds were labeled as possible fraudsters. Again, they were mostly former residents of Eastern Europe.

What many have guessed has received official confirmation. The disclosure of these facts caused irreparable damage to the reputation of government agencies.

Considering that this is not the first incident on the part of the tax service, the parliament began to seriously discuss the possibility of introducing the post of tax ombudsman, which will become a link between government bodies and ordinary taxpayers.

If you are reading this material in Russian, then there is a high probability that your declaration will come under the scrutiny of the tax service. Especially if you are receiving government subsidies or applying for a tax refund.


How to protect yourself in such a situation?

  • At first. Don't try to cheat the system (obviously).
  • Secondly. Be careful with your tax return and keep all supporting documents, receipts, and receipts. They can come in handy at the most unexpected moment.
  • Thirdly. Find a good tax advisor with whom you can speak the same language, as the tax system in the Netherlands is flexible but very confusing.
Publication Date: 21.07.2020


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