The postal service can be crucial in case of some tax obligations. The Dutch tax office and court think highly of the quality of the postal service. We think that should be reevaluated.
Postal service and tax obligations
We receive often written requests from the Dutch tax office to respond to an urgent matter. The time frame is set in the letter. For instance, a March dated letter to us had the time frame of April 7. This letter was received by us on April 9. Two problems. One we have not met the time frame, two: how can we proof the letter was received too late?
Postal service and complaints
Once in a while you receive an assessment from the tax office that is not correct. The appeal period is 6 weeks from the date of the assessment. Fortunately the tax office send such an assessment often with a future date, so that gives you more time.
For the appeal you simply cannot work with the regular postal service. The regular mail we receive goes like this: small envelopes are received in a couple of days, large envelopes are received at least a week later and large thick envelopes are received three months later.
In the situation of a complaint or anything else that has a strict deadline, use registered mail only.
Postal service and tax: court case
A company appealed a complaint on the last day of the complaint period, June 27. This complaint was received by the tax office on June 29 and stamped June 28. The tax office denied the complaint as that was not made in the 6 weeks time. It was one day late.
The company argued in court this rejection of the complaint with arguments of when the letter box was emptied and that the postal service took their time to stamp, hence stamped June 28 but was send June 27. The court dismissed the argument.
Lesson to be learned: never wait till the very last day for an appeal if you think it is important.
Till Covid19 occurred the Dutch tax office was very limited in sharing email addresses how to contact them. And we were maybe also more formal in manner of using an actual letter to reply. Covid19 made this all much more efficient. Email is more or less the standard and it works perfectly.
Tax is exciting
We think tax is exciting, mail getting lost or arriving late is not. Still this is a problem we experience on a daily basis. Not only mail from the tax office, any mail send. As long as no deadlines are set in the messages, it is not a problem.