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Tax complaint and appeal – how does this work?


You disagree with the tax office decision and you want to learn more about tax complaint and appeal. In this article we like to update you.

Tax complaint and appeal

In the Netherlands we offer the possibility to disagree with a Government decision imposed on you. This also applies in the tax system. Actually, Dutch argue often a tax assessment. That is not the same as Dutch winning often the argument.

Tax complaint and appeal – sequence

The sequence of events is as follows. You receive an assessment that you disagree with. From the date of that assessment you have maximum 6 weeks to argue this decision in a complaint.

The complaint is send to the address shown in the assessment where you can send complaints. Or, should this not be stated, send the complaint to the address from which it has been received.

Tax office response

The tax office needs to respond in a reasonable period of time. About 8 weeks. Often the tax office needs more time and then they send you a letter in which they ask for more time. A bit of a silly letter, because if you disagree, they respond more rapid implying they deny your request.

Officially the rule is that another person in the tax office that is appointed as complaint manager, is to respond to your complaint. This to avoid the person sending you the first assessment, responding to your complaint. That is the official rule, but on tiny departments of the tax office like the 30% ruling, this is not the case. The person who denied the ruling, also denies the complaint.

Therefore it is important to be able to go to an institute not being the tax office: the court

Tax complaint and appael

Tax complaint and appeal: court cases

You received an assessment, you made a complaint against the assessment again with the tax office. The tax office often has one clear line of arguments. This implies, the complaint is denied as well. Unless ofcourse there was a mistake made or aspects not clearly indicated in the tax return.

The response of the Dutch tax office on your complaint can be appealed in court. Again, you have six weeks time from the date of the decision to appeal. How to appeal with court is explicitly stated in rules and regulations. Such an appeal can be done by yourself, by us and or by a lawyer. A lawyer is not a requirement, nor a must. The court prefers you to represent yourself we experienced, maybe with the assistance of a tax advisor.

The court (Hof) is experienced in tax and can provide you with the answer like you expect from the court. An independent answer. Still, the answer can imply your complaint is being denied. What is the next step?

Tax complaint and appeal: high court

You received an assessment, filed an complaint against the assessment. You went to court to appeal the complaint outcome. The court’s decision you also disagree with, can you appeal this court decision? Yes and no.

Yes, you can go to the high court (Hoge Raad). However, the high court will not look at the facts and circumstances. The high court will only check if the legal procedure were correctly followed and if the response of the court is in line with jurisprudence.

This implies if you have new arguments, new evidence, you cannot appeal the case with the high court. All information you should have provided in the court case. That is the crucial thing of the court case, it is now or never argument and evident wise.

Tax is exciting

We think tax is exciting. Receiving a conflicting tax assessment is not exciting.

In our practice sometimes we have to file an complaint as well. Like we had the other day with the 30% ruling department. The 30% ruling application had not been received it was stated. We filed an complaint, and the one person who is the ultimate person responsible of this department also handled the complaint. The outcome could be predicted. Hence we were eager to go to court, but the client had no interest in a court case. We still think that is a true pity.

Ever heard of a letter addressed to the tax office that did not arrive? We bet that even if you put BELASTINGDIENST on a white letter without stamps and without return address, it will arrive. So we still feel sorry we could not appeal. That said, if you go an make an complaint or appeal, only use registered mail. This prevent the tax office to simply dismiss your case by stating the complaint was never received.



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