What happens when you file the wrong tax form?

What happens when you file the wrong tax form?

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In the Netherlands, there are a bunch of different tax forms you can fill in to file your annual income tax return. So, what happens when you file the wrong one? Will you get a fine? Tax is Exciting has the answer!

The incorrect tax form filed - what flavours are there?

There are various tax returns that can be filed in the Netherlands. The most common one is the P-form (Private), which is for employees or people who were employees. The W-form (profit) tax return is for entrepreneurs like a freelancer or ZZP, and the C-form (non-resident) is for non-resident taxpayers that have a filing obligation in the Netherlands - for instance, for property owned in the Netherlands. The M-form (Migration) is for a person that either arrived in the Netherlands or left the Netherlands. In other words, they started or stopped being a Dutch tax resident. Then we have the F-form (Final) if the concerning tax resident has died.

That is an awful lot of different forms, so what if you choose to file the wrong one?

I filed the incorrect form, now what?

In the Netherlands, we have the obligation to file the income tax return before May 1. If you have not been invited to file one and you are aware you need to pay Dutch tax, you are supposed to file your tax return no later than 14 days after May 1.

What if you did your tax return online, ticking the incorrect box. For instance, you chose to file the P-form instead of the W-form, or the M-form instead of the C-form. Does this mean you missed the deadline? The tax office would like to think so and will impose a fine of 385 euros (2021). However, the court disagrees.

An exciting court case

A former Dutch taxpayer moved to Israel. She was asked to file the migration income tax return (M-form) for the year 2017. She was reminded on April 30, 2019. As a result, she filed a non-resident income tax return (C-form), early May 2019. That is not the correct form. She was reminded again in November 2019. As she believed she filed the tax return, she did not respond to the reminder.

The tax office imposed a 369-euro penalty for not filing the income tax return on time. The woman filed a complaint and asked for the reimbursement of the costs made related to the complaint. The penalty was deleted, but the compensation was not granted.

The woman went to the higher court to complain about not receiving compensation. The tax office argued that the tax return was sent to her Israeli address. The tax office could not substantiate to the court if that was in fact the migration income tax return. The reminders did not show which tax return was supposed to have been filed. The reminders are general reminders, not specific to what is actually expected to be filed.

The court could not rule any different than that she had filed her tax return on time. The fact that the tax office does not communicate in their reminders what exactly it is the tax office would like you to do, is the tax office’s risk. So, the court ruled that the woman did not have to pay the penalty and that she is entitled to compensation for the costs incurred.

Tax is Exciting feels tax is exciting! And they are excited about this court verdict. Indeed, the tax office sends a random reminder. If the reminded person contacts them, they need to find out via calls what it is the tax office expects of their client. Even then, they are sometimes informed incorrectly about the type of tax return that is expected. That said, know that the Migration income tax return (M-form) cannot be done online, and the non-resident tax return (C-form) can be done online.

Need help with deciding which form to file? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with Tax is Exciting!

Arnold Waal


Arnold Waal

Arnold Waal, born and raised in Amsterdam where his parents ran a B&B. After finishing the high business school and university tax degree Arnold started his career with a small...

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