June 21-2016 : Many will receive their Dutch tax assessment this month. What should you do with it and why is it important? How, when, where and what about filing an objection: In this article, you should find the larger part of the answers on the above questions. However, every case is different. If you cannot find the information you are looking for here or if you require assistance, please feel free to contact us.
Many will receive their Dutch tax assessment this month. This is an important document! But why is it so important and what should I do with it? If I do not agree with the objection, what should I do and by when? Can I claim expenses? What is preliminary objection? Can I get an extension of payment?
In this article, you should find the larger part of the answers on the above questions. However, every case is different so this should not be considered as an advice, but more as general information. If you can’t find the information you are looking for here or if you require assistance, please feel free to contact us.
What should you do with an assessment
Dutch tax residents will receive their Dutch tax assessment after filing of the tax return. If you have not filed your tax returns, even after several reminders, the tax authorities will make one up for you!!!
Many think that an assessment is simply a confirmation of what you owe the tax authorities of what they owe you. But there is more than that: Sometimes, the assessment shows that the tax authorities did not accept the tax return and that they adjusted the calculation. In addition, it is also your last chance to check your tax return thoroughly to see if you made any errors. If so, an objection may serve as possibility to adjust your tax return. So if you receive an assessment, check the assessment and recheck your tax return. If any doubts, you may want to seek professional advice for a second opinion and/or for the preparation of an objection.
What happens if I (do not) file an objection
If you do not object (in time), you lose your legal rights to have your tax return adjusted in a later stage. In some occasions, a simple request and with the help of a friendly tax inspector to adjust the assessment retroactively may do the job, but such is a request is often not granted or only partly. If such a request is not approved, it is tough luck because you have no rights anymore to go to court!
An objection should be looked at by someone else than the person that issued the assessment. In practice, this is difficult to check and very often, these two people share the same room!! So much for an objective judgement.
The tax authorities are obliged to confirm receipt of your objection. If you do not receive this objection, contact the tax authorities to see whether they received it or not before the deadline! It happens that mail gets lost. Registered mail is not required, but sometimes recommendable.
The tax authorities should decide on your objection within six weeks. They may (partly) accept the objection, they may request additional information and they may reject the objection. If you do not agree with their decision, you may need to go to court. The decision contains information as to what you should do if you want to go to court. It is interesting to know that you do not need an expensive lawyer for the first two instances of court (out of three): you are free to defend your case yourselves or ask your tax consultant to help you out.
Timing! When to file an objection:
When you say objection, you say timing!!! Most important rule is that you should file your objection within six weeks after the date shown on the assessment. Objections in English are generally accepted, but not always. Mind that assessments are generally pre-dated so that the date on the assessment generally has a later date than the day you received the assessment. It is important that your objection does not have a date/should be received earlier than the date of the assessment: also in this case, an objection may not be accepted or you may lose your right to go to court in a later stage. As such, not only mind the “dead”-line but also the “birth”-line!!!!
Content of an objection:
An objection should contain
- your name
- your fiscal number (“BSN-number”)
- your address
- the number of the assessment
- the type of tax the objection is about
- the tax year concerned
- your objections (see later about preliminary objections)
- if you wish an expense remuneration (see later)
- if you wish an extension of payment of the assessment (see later)
Where to send your objection to:
Send your objection to the tax authority office stated on the assessment. If you send it to the wrong office, your objection should be forwarded to the right office, but it will result in a delay and as a result, your objection may be considered be filed too late!!
Secure your rights: preliminary objections
If you are close to the deadline and while you have not yet determined what exactly your objections will be (or whether you actually want to file an objection), you can also choose to file a “preliminary objection” or in Dutch a “proforma bezwaar”. Such an objection contains all details mentioned above except for the actual objections. Instead, state that this objection should be treated as a “proforma bezwaar” (perhaps also good to mention it in the heading). As a response, the tax authorities will send you a letter in which they will ask you to provide them with your objections within a certain period. It is important that this preliminary objection should be filed in time also!!!
Extension of payment
The tax authorities will grant an extension of payment, but only if you ask for it! They are obliged to grant an extension for part of the tax amount which is under discussion, but if you simply ask for an extension for the full amount of the assessment, it is generally granted. This saves having to make two payments or having to calculate what is payable or not, but it may result in higher interest expenses.
The tax authorities may in some occasions grant an expense remuneration. The remunerations are limited and generally do not cover the real expenses. It may be granted in the following situation:
- the tax authorities made an error by not following your tax return
- they adjusted the earlier assessment as a result of your assessment
- the reason for the adjustment of the assessment may not be caused due to the fact that relevant information was only provided with the objection
- you made expenses because you requested professional help (note that family or friends are generally not considered as professional help!)
- you made a request for an expense remuneration in your objection
The expense remuneration may be given for:
- professional legal help
- a witness, expert or translator
- travel or hotel expenses
- certain legal documents
- absence expenses, for example if you were required to visit the tax authorities for a hearing
Again, filing a right objection is not always easy and is always tailor made. This means that the above should be considered as general information only, not as an advice. Feel free to contact us if you have doubts about your tax return, whether your tax preparer did a good job (or not) or for help with filing an objection. Langendorff Tax Consultancy has 20 years of experience in filing objections for Dutch persons or companies as well as for non-residents, expats and non-Dutch living in the Netherlands. We understand your cross-border issues, your surprises and issues with Dutch culture and are aware of your difficulties as a result of language barriers. Although very Dutch, we speak your language!
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This article was written on 21 June 2016.