This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)
The Dutch tax authorities may not reverse the burden of proof if an invitation to file a personal income tax return (aangiftebrief) has not been sent them first.
Recently, Tax Court issued a judgment in a case in which the tax authorities wanted to reverse the burden of proof after imposing an ex officio estimated income tax assessment.
The taxpayer in this case had not filed a tax return and also had not received an income tax return invitation from the tax authorities. The inspector made an ex officio estimated tax assessment and took the view that the burden of proof was on the taxpayer to refute the amounts of the ex officio tax assessment.
The Court saw sufficient reason to submit the burden of proof – of the estimated amounts of the ex officio assessment – to the tax authorities because the taxpayer did not submit an (incorrect) declaration and had not received an invitation to file a tax return. At least the inspector could not provide evidence that such an invitation had indeed been sent to the taxpayer, although the inspector was convinced that it was.
Incidentally, the inspector in this case still had the chance to successfully defend the height of his ex officio attack so that this estimated tax assessment was maintained.
Perhaps the Tax Authorities will try to prevent a similar future case as much as possible by sending many taxpayers an invitation to file a tax return.
7.9 million people were invited over the tax year 2017, including persons who would not actually have to file a declaration, making the invitation in such cases more like an unauthorized ‘fishing expedition’.
The law hereby imposes the following restriction on the inspector: “Pursuant to Article 6 paragraph 1 AWR, the inspector … can invite the person who, in his opinion, is presumed to be liable to pay tax or is liable to pay deductions.” So there must be a suspicion before an invitation can be send.
In view of the formalities and the impact of such an invitation, it should only be issued in evident situations: “anyone who has been invited to prepare a tax return is required to make a declaration by means of the information requested in the invitation, clearly, firmly and without reservation….”