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NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 21:44
Agencies that challenge the WOZ decision with the municipality for homeowners will have to deal with stricter rules. In this way, the Ministry of Finance wants to curb companies that cost municipalities a lot of money. A spokesperson for the ministry confirms this in response to reports from RTL Nieuws.
This week, municipalities already called on citizens not to call in a commercial agency if they want to object to the WOZ decision. If such an agency succeeds, the municipality must pay a so-called court fee. These fees vary per case, from hundreds to several thousand euros. Municipalities do not have to pay those legal costs if people object themselves, without involving an agency.
Homeowners will receive a WOZ decision in the mail this week: an estimate made by the municipality of the value of their home. Various taxes are determined on this basis, such as property tax and notional rental value.
If you can get your WOZ value down, you also have to pay less tax. Anyone who thinks the decision is too high has six weeks to object after receiving the decision.
The spokesman for the ministry says that many citizens do not know that commercial companies earn a lot of money from the service they provide. “In recent years, the number of objection and appeal procedures has grown enormously due to this business. The process costs to be reimbursed have also increased enormously as a result.”
According to the ministry, the companies earn an average of around 600 euros per case won. This amount is even higher in case of further litigation.
And that while the companies hardly have any work to do with the applications. Citizens must fill in the objection form themselves, which is sent directly to the municipality. Because the legal fee increases with continued litigation, it pays off for companies to ask for a hearing as standard. As a result, the municipalities are overloaded with extra work, while the result is often the same.
“Besides making money off people’s backs, it also puts increasing pressure on the implementation of tax legislation and the judiciary. Community money flows away to commercial parties,” said the spokesperson.
Address revenue model
State Secretary Van Rij wants to make it less attractive for companies to offer this service with a number of measures. Firstly, due to an amendment to the law, the compensation will from now on be paid directly to the citizen, not to the commercial party. “This obliges the companies to involve the taxpayer more in the process of appeal and objection.”
In addition, the legal costs to the companies will be reduced. As a result, the remunerations would be more in proportion to the work that the companies perform and the revenue model would become less attractive.
The ministry is investigating whether further measures are necessary.
‘Municipalities do not take citizens seriously’
Earlier this week, Dirk-Jan Wolfert, owner of such an objection company, responded to the concerns of municipalities. He said the commercial parties arose because municipalities “don’t take their citizens seriously”. “Only if municipalities have not estimated correctly and the WOZ has to be reduced, they have to pay compensation. If municipalities do their job well, there is nothing for agencies to earn.”
According to him, the advantage of consultancy firms is that they have specialists. “They know exactly how to file an objection.”