The Dutch government led by Mark Rutte announced today that victims of false accusations of tax fraud for receiving aid to take care of their children – a scandal that led to their resignation – will no longer have to pay their debts to government agencies, which they had incurred to return the money received from the Tax Agency and pay the fines imposed.
In a gesture presented by the outgoing Executive as a “forgiveness” of the debts to the victims of the Tax Agency, the Secretary of State for Finance, Alexandra van Huffelen, stressed being “very happy to be able to offer parents a clean page” , despite the opinion against the tax authorities, who refused to renounce the victims’ debts with them and with different creditors.
When the Dutch Tax Agency unfoundedly accused more than 26,000 parents of tax fraud after receiving aid to pay for the care of their children, it also demanded thousands of victims to return the money they had previously received, which led many to ruin , to lose their home and their job, and to go into debt in order to raise money they did not have.
This also included debts with the Tax Agency itself, which intended to maintain its demand for families to pay the amount they owed after being falsely accused of fraud and having been forced to borrow money from banks and private creditors, in addition to borrowing from public institutions such as the Social Security Bank and municipalities.
This arrangement, which the outgoing Dutch government announces two months before the general elections and three days after their resignation, will allow the victims to receive the reward of 30,000 euros promised by the Government of Mark Rutte, without having to hand over all or part of that amount to creditors. According to the different ministries, all debts will be canceled, regardless of what it “costs” to the State.
The refusal of the tax authorities to renounce their claims caused much social outrage because the parents were victims of erroneous and mass accusations of tax fraud, a situation that has been the cause why thousands of families find themselves in financial and psychological difficulties , being obliged to repay the subsidy received, often with an additional fine.
Last Friday, when the cabinet resigned en bloc, Rutte promised that he will do everything possible to help parents stigmatized by the Tax Agency and that he will pay them compensation of 30,000 euros for the damage caused as soon as possible, although many victims do not believe that is enough.
Since 2014, although it is believed that there are cases from previous years, the Tax Agency sent letters to thousands of parents -mostly of foreign origins- accusing them of fraud, without giving them the possibility of convincing them otherwise or offering arguments, after having received Help to pay for childcare or babysitters to take care of your children so that they can work.