Expatica news

Minister vows to take on ‘tax untouchables’

19 March 2004

AMSTERDAM — Tax Minister Joop Wijn has revealed he is considering setting up a special unit to deal with hardcore tax evaders such as the Hells Angels and trailer park communities.

The junior minister at the Finance Ministry vowed in newspaper Algemeen Dagblad on Friday that he would put an end to “tax shelter enclaves” for what were termed asocial groups, which tax officials feared to confront.

Wijn said setting up a new team was just one option being considered as other agencies would have to be involved too.

“We need the help of others, including the municipal authorities, police and energy companies. This isn’t just a tax shelter, it is a government shelter,” he said.

The tax office, Belastingdienst, has come in for heavy criticism after a whistleblower revealed in newspaper De Telegraaf in February that there has been secret policy for 21 years not to collect taxes from difficult individuals and groups.

The whistleblower gave the newspaper tax files which had a note on them saying no further action should be taken because the person was “known”.

De Telegraaf revealed residents of the trailer park community Vinkenslag in Maastricht have paid only 3 percent in income tax.

Wijn claimed it was an isolated incident, but MPs rounded on him when evidence revealed a wholesale policy of tax-collecting avoidance and low taxation was being practised by the Belastingdienst.

In Friday’s Algemeen Dagblad, Wijn said that tax evasion by groups such as the Hells Angels and trailer park residents cost the exchequer “a couple of million euros”.

Referring to his idea of employing people to form a new tax-buster unit, Wijn added, “If the approach is a success, the civil servants will pay for themselves”.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news + tax in the Netherlands