Apr 14, 2023 at 8:34 PMUpdate: 4 minutes ago
A benefit parent faced the tax authorities on Friday in a second case about discrimination by the service. The case is characterized by file documents and details of agreements that can no longer be traced. “You really turned it into a circus.”
The parent’s complaint was handled by the Human Rights Board.
The parent argued that he would have been dealt with extra harshly when he had to pay back childcare allowance – which later turned out to be wrong. That would be because he is of Moroccan descent. The Tax and Customs Administration has admitted that it made a distinction based on origin when it came to benefits.
During the hearing, the Tax and Customs Administration admitted that “a lot” had also gone wrong in the case of this benefit parent. “We have tried to fix this, but realize that this will never be completely successful,” says one of the defendants on behalf of the tax authorities. The service has compensated the man financially.
However, this case would not amount to discrimination: the complainant would have provided incomplete information to the tax authorities. That is why he should have had to pay money back in the first place.
Due to the actions of the Tax and Customs Administration, the benefit parent states that he has run into financial problems. He would have become “literally sick” by the actions of the tax authorities. “You really turned it into a circus,” he addressed the service during the case.
File Tax and Customs Administration is not complete
It was striking that many events in the case cannot be found in the tax authorities’ file on the parent. That does contain letters of formal notice, but they are templates, without name, date or address.
According to the tax authorities, some data about physical agreements at a tax office are not kept for more than a year.
The man’s file has been running since 2007. Details about, for example, an appointment he had with the tax authorities in 2018 can no longer be traced, according to the service.
Research by RTL News showed that, according to lawyers, the Tax and Customs Administration does not always take all available documents to court.
The lawyers know that there are documents that may be exculpatory for their clients. So they see no other option than to file separate lawsuits about whether the entire file is present.
‘Tax employee does not recognize himself in the complaints’
In this case, the tax authorities spoke to a tax employee about her experiences with the benefits parent. According to the service, he does not recognize himself in the man’s statement that she would have discriminated against him.
On the contrary, says the tax authorities. In this case, the employee has acted flexibly with the rules regarding the provision of data about the use of childcare.
Again discussion about the use of discriminatory systems
Trouw and RTL Nieuws revealed in 2019 that since 2004 the tax authorities have wrongly classified thousands of parents who received childcare allowance as fraudsters. It also turned out that this was done on the basis of personal characteristics rather than tax risks.
But just like in a previous case at the Institute, the tax authorities said that the service would only have used discriminatory systems “after 2014”.
The question is whether that matters in this case: the man and his legal adviser argue that he was treated unequally both before and after that year.
The Board usually makes its decision six to eight weeks after a hearing. But the chairman of the complaint handlers in this case did not dare to be pinned down to that. “This file is so thick, we have to let it sink in.”
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