The Tax Authorities can impose a fine (penalty payment)
In certain situations, the Tax Authorities may, in addition to the tax return, impose a fine. There can be many reasons for this imposition. Customarily the Tax authorities will announce the fact that they are considering to impose a fine. You can respond to this announcement in order to try to avoid the fine from actually being issued and imposed.
It is good to know that, in many cases, you are not obliged to answer the questions of the Tax Authorities or to respond to the announcement that you will receive a fine. This is a right that you have in order to prevent you from incrimination yourself. Whenever the Tax Authorities impose a fine, one should examine the merits on which the fine is based and whether the fine is justified.
Have you received an intention to impose a fine (“voornemen tot boeteoplegging”) or a penalty decision (“boetebeschikking”)?
The tax attorney’s at Booij Bikkers have a long record in dealing with such penalty/fines procedures and can enter into consultation with the Tax Authorities, can help you in objecting against a penalty/fine or represent you in court during an appeal.
Different kinds of penalties / fines
Default penalty (“Verzuimboete”)
The Tax Authorities will impose a default penalty when you fail to submit a tax return, submit your tax return too late or when you fail to pay the tax that is due. This may be the case regarding wage tax, sales tax and dividend tax. Noncompliance with tax obligations provides for an offense under the Tax Code for which no (malicious) intent or gross negligence is required. So, the Tax Authorities can be quick to impose a fine if you do not meet all of your tax obligations in a timely fashion.
Infraction penalty (“Vergrijpboete”)
The Tax Authorities can impose an infraction penalty when you fail to comply with certain obligations with regard to the Tax code. Possible cases where this may occur are you not or not fully satisfying the request for information of the Tax Authorities, or incorrectly or incompletely submitting a Tax declaration or failing to submit it altogether. If the Tax Authorities wish to impose an infraction penalty, they will have to prove that you deliberately did not comply with the Tax Code. The Tax Authorities will also have to explain their reasoning behind the imposed sanction.
Accessory penalty (“Medeplegersboete”)
Since the 1st January 2009 tax advisors, accountants, bookkeepers and even public notaries can be confronted by an infraction penalty. This is the so-called accessory penalty (“medeplegersboete”).
The Tax Authorities, however, can only impose such a penalty if they can prove that the alleged accessory cooperated very closely with the taxpayer and with shared intent.
An infraction penalty is a kind of punishment. The Tax Authorities will need to show and prove that you intentionally failed to comply with the Tax Code. If you are in such a situation, you need not always cooperate with the Tax Authorities. It is therefore essential to understand whether the Tax Authorities ask questions in order to ascertain whether you have declared/paid enough taxes, or, whether the Tax Authorities ask the same questions in order to see whether an infraction has been committed. In the latter case you do not need to cooperate, in order to protect yourself from self- incrimination.
The tax attorney’s at Booij Bikkers can help you determine how much information you are obliged to provide.
Whenever the Tax Authorities have the possibility to impose an infraction penalty, but do not do so, there is a risk that you may become the suspect in a criminal investigation. Also, in these cases, the lawyers at Booij Bikkers can help you and will, where necessary, liaise closely with criminal law specialists that they know and trust.