Trailer parks, coffeeshops face tax crackdown
3 June 2004
AMSTERDAM — The Dutch government presented plans to Parliament on Thursday aimed at ending the tax “amnesty” enjoyed for many years by residents of trailer parks and shady businesses.
“We are going to completely abandon the reticence there was here and there to collect tax money,” Junior Finance Minister Joop Wijn has pledged.
The tax office, Belastingdienst, launched an investigation earlier this year following revelations that “notorious” and “difficult” people were exempted from paying tax or allowed to pay at a very low rate.
The secret tax “amnesty” agreements appear to have been set up to relieve tax officers of the hassle and danger of trying to collect full payments from anti-social people and groups.
State Secretary Wijn said the new approach involving teams of tax officials and police would target trailer park residents, marijuana cafes (coffeeshops), illegal casinos and brothels, groups of gypsies and the Hells Angels motorcycle gang. About EUR 10 million has been made available to fund the 22-point plan.
There was a public outcry recently when it emerged people living in Vinkenslag in Maastricht — the largest trailer park in the Netherlands — have only being paying 3 percent income tax for several years.
Furthermore, the tax office investigation revealed that residents of the 1,100 trailer parks in the Netherlands owed the government about EUR 28 million in taxes.
Wijn said on Thursday that the investigation had confirmed most people pay taxes properly, but some individuals and businesses are paying little or no BTW (valued added tax), property tax, water and sewage charges or are illegally collecting social welfare.
“We are putting an end to the policy of toleration,” Wijn said.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news