Dutch tax authority admits singling out people with dual nationality for stricter inspection
Dual nationality one of five criteria for stricter inspections
It came to light on Monday, May 11, that the tax authority used several criteria to determine which citizens were going to be more heavily inspected due to being considered at higher risk of fraud, and one of them was the possession of dual nationality.
The Dutch tax office (Belastingdienst) admitted to these checks, after being investigated by RTL Nieuws and Trouw. This is the first time that the tax authority confirmed publicly that dual nationality was an indicator for certain people coming under scrutiny compared to others.
Certain taxpayers deemed "likely to commit fraud" by the tax authority
According to RTL Nieuws, the tax authority admitted to singling people out by implementing a “risk module” in 2012 to determine who was deemed likely to commit fraud. Five criteria were added to this risk module, such as dual nationality, whether someone had declared high deductions, knowledge, expertise and patterns from previous years.
Investigations underway by privacy watchdog
In 2014 and in 2015, laws were changed so that local tax authorities no longer had access to information about dual nationalities, however, the tax authorities continued to use outdated lists where nationalities were stated, according to RTL. This is being investigated by the Dutch privacy watchdog AP.
This comes to light after the recent childcare benefits scandal, in which families from ethnic minorities were wrongly deemed fraudsters and had their child benefits revoked. MPs Pieter Omtzigt and Renske Leijten have been campaigning for the families who were targeted in the child benefit fiasco and are now demanding answers as to how long this discrepancy has been going on in the tax authority.
"This is extremely serious… and a smack in the face of society," Leijten said. "We were promised things would be cleaned up but now, after all this time, this comes out."