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Appealing against a tax assessment or penalty

This is a print of a page on Rechtspraak.nl. Look for the most up-to-date information on Rechtspraak.nl (http://www.rechtspraak.nl). This page is printed on 01-01-1970.

Have you lodged an objection against your tax assessment or penalty? And was your objection dismissed? If so, you now can ow appeal against it before the district court.

If you appeal before the court, you must ask the public authority to defer payment of your tax assessment.

Tax appeal procedure

  • Before starting proceedings, you may want to seek legal advice on your situation. The ‘Juridisch advies’ (Legal advice) page tells you which organisations offer legal advice.  
  • You can engage the help of a lawyer or representative, but this is not compulsory for judicial appeals in administrative matters. 
  • Below are the steps you need to follow if you wish to start legal proceedings yourself.

 

 The tax appeal procedure consists of the following steps

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  • You must submit a notice of appeal (beroepschrift) to the district court in order to start the appeal process for tax cases (e.g. For matters relating to income tax, property valuation (WOZ), VAT returns, wealth tax or road tax). You are the claimant.

    Submit your notice of appeal to the district court within 6 weeks of your objection being dismissed. The date of the decision made in response to your objection can be found in the letter from the Tax and Customs Administration, municipality, province or water board.

    Submitting a notice of appeal digitally

    You can submit your notice of appeal and the documents below to the district court digitally using an appeal form. You will need a DigiD to do this.

    Please note that the digital appeal form cannot be used by legal entities or representatives of legal entities.

    Businesses in the form of a private limited company (bv) or public limited company (nv), and organisations such as foundations or associations, must submit paper copies of their documents.

    Sole proprietorships, general partnerships (vof) and limited partnerships (cv) can use the digital form. They can log in using their DigiD.

    Submitting your notice of appeal in writing

    You can draw up your own notice of appeal and submit it in writing. You must include the following in your notice of appeal:

    • your name and address;
    • the decision you are appealing against (e.g. decision after a tax assessment for income tax or wealth tax);
    • why you disagree with the decision (e.g. incorrect VAT calculation);
    • what you think the decision should be; and
    • the date and your signature.
    Send it by post or deliver it by hand

    Send the notice of appeal and the documents listed below to the district court named in the decision on your appeal. You can also drop it off at the central desk of the district court.

     

    Documents to be included

    Documents of importance to the court should be sent together with your notice of appeal. In all cases, these include:

    • a copy of the appeal decision that you are appealing against;
    • a copy of the appeal committee’s opinion, if the committee was involved in your appeal;
    • documents and photographs to support your position, if you have them; and
    • written authorisation, if you are using an authorised representative.

    Additional documents for organisations (company, foundation or association)

    Do you want to lodge an appeal in the capacity of an organisation? In that case, please include the following:

    • an excerpt from the commercial register (and if there are parent legal entities, attach the excerpts for these as well). These excerpts must show who, as the ultimately authorised director, has the right (is entitled) to make an appeal. Excerpts must be less than 1 year old;
    • a copy of the articles of association; and
    • an excerpt pertaining to the holding company (less than 1 year old).

    Informing the counterparty

    The district court informs the counterparty, i.e. the public authority (Tax and Customs Administration, municipality, province or water board) that you have initiated appeal proceedings.

    Rules of procedure

    More information can be found in the Rules of Procedure for District Courts (overheid.nl)(in Dutch).

  • The public authority (Tax and Customs Administration, municipality, province or water board) that dismissed your objection is your counterparty (defendant) in this case. The district court will ask this public authority to write a statement of defence and to send all documents relating to the tax case (tax return, VAT return, road tax, etc.). The district court will send you copies of the documents submitted by the public authority.

  • You may also submit additional documents. Examples of these are a written response to the public authority’s statement of defence.

    You can submit new documents no later than 10 days before the hearing. This is to allow the judge and the public authority sufficient time to read the documents. If documents are submitted less than 10 days before the hearing, the judge may decide not to admit them if this would be detrimental to the counterparty.


  • The judge will generally deal with your appeal case at a hearing.

    Proceedings without a hearing

    There is no hearing if:

    • the judge considers that the documents are so clear that oral proceedings at a hearing would not add any value AND all parties state that they do not want a hearing. Once the parties have given their consent, the judge will rule on the matter without a hearing. If you do not agree with the judge's decision, you can appeal to a higher court (see step 6 below);
      • the judge opts for simplified proceedings. For example, this may be because:
        • the tax court is not the correct court to hear a case (the tax court has no jurisdiction [kennelijk onbevoegd]);
        • the point of law, documents or case law are so obvious that no further oral proceedings are necessary (this is called 'manifestly well-founded' [kennelijk gegrond] or 'manifestly unfounded' [kennelijk ongegrond]); or
        • the notice of appeal was filed late (the appeal is manifestly inadmissible [kennelijk niet-ontvankelijk]).

        Do you disagree with the judge's decision following the simplified proceedings dealing with your case? If so, you can object to this ruling (see step 6 below).

        Proceedings with a hearing

        You and the public authority will receive an invitation to the hearing. This states when (date) and where (location) the oral hearing will take place.

        Attendees at the hearing

        You are not obliged to come to the hearing, but it is recommended. If you do come, you will have the opportunity to present an oral explanation. You can also answer any questions that the judge asks. The same applies to the public authority (Tax and Customs Administration, municipality, province or water board).

        Public or private nature of tax cases

        1. Not public
          Tax cases are not public. Members of the public are not allowed attend the hearing.
        2. Tax penalty: public
          Proceedings relating to tax penalties are held in public. Is the penalty part of a broader tax case? If so, only the proceedings on the penalty issue are held in public.
        Witnesses and experts 

        If you wish to summon a witness or expert or bring one with you, you must notify the judge and the public authority in writing at least 10 days before the hearing. The judge is not obliged to hear any witnesses or experts that you bring with you.

        Oral proceedings

        The judge presides over the oral proceedings. The judge asks questions and discusses the points of disagreement between the parties. If both parties are amenable, they may still reach a settlement together:

        Reaching a settlement

        The possibility is still open for both parties to reach an agreement together at the hearing. The settlement is a binding agreement. This means that the parties must honour the agreements.

        Out-of-court mediation

        This means that the parties try to reach an out-of-court resolution with the help of an external mediator.

        Legal proceedings focus on the legal aspects of a conflict. Out-of-court mediation means that you and the other party/parties seek a solution to all aspects of the dispute. Therefore, the judge will see if your case lends itself to mediation. You also have the option of indicating that you wish to follow the mediation route.

         

        The judge’s ruling

        What happens if the parties are not amenable to reaching a solution together? Or if the dispute does not lend itself to this? The parties will then be able to further explain their positions and answer questions that the judge asks. Tax judges generally try to reach a decision themselves. Occasionally, an interlocutory ruling may be issued.

    • The judge may give an oral or written ruling:

      • orally – at the end of the hearing;
      • in writing, by post – within 6 weeks of the hearing. If the judge needs more time, they will let you know in due time.
      • in writing, if the parties have waived the right to an oral hearing.

      The ruling will be sent to you. If you have engaged the services of a lawyer or tax advisor, the ruling will be sent to them. There are different types of ruling that the judge can make:

      Well-founded

      The judge rules in your favour and declares the appeal well-founded. This usually means that the tax assessment or penalty is reduced.

      The judge may:

      • direct the public authority review the appeal according to the judge's instructions, and then make a new decision. If you disagree with this new decision, you can lodge a new objection and then if necessary, an appeal;

      • determine that the decision is not upheld (is annulled), but that its legal effects can be maintained. The reasons are given in the ruling.

      • determine that the judge's ruling supersedes the decision. This means that there may be new legal consequences;

      Unfounded

      The judge rules against you. The tax assessment or penalty remains the same. The judge cannot increase the amount of the tax assessment or penalty.

      Disagreeing with a court ruling

      Do you disagree with the judge’s ruling? You can object to the ruling or appeal to a higher court.

    • Objection – following simplified proceedings without a hearing

      Do you disagree with the judge’s ruling following the simplified proceedings dealing with your case? If so, you can lodge an objection against this ruling. You do this by sending a letter to the district court, referred to as the notice of objection [verzetschrift]. You must do this within 6 weeks. If the district court rules in favour of your notice of objection, another hearing will take place.

      Disagreeing with the decision on your objection

      If you disagree with the court’s decision on your objection, you can appeal (in Dutch) to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands. You must submit your appeal to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands within 6 weeks of the date of the decision on your objection.

      Appealing to a higher court

      Do you disagree with the judge’s decision on your objection? Then you can appeal (in Dutch) to the higher court specified in the decision. An appeal judge will then review your tax case. You must appeal to the higher court within 6 weeks of the court’s decision. The public authority can also appeal to a higher court.





    Will the public authority’s decision put you directly into financial difficulties? Or are you faced with another imminent situation that would be untenable? If so, you can ask the judge in the interim proceedings to grant interim relief.

     

     

    Costs

    You pay a fee for the court to hear your case, referred to as court fees. There may be additional costs associated with a court case, such as lawyer’s fees.

    Processing time

    The tax appeal process takes at least 3 months. If the case goes to appeal, this can take more than 1 year.



    Legal advice

    Would you like personal advice on your situation? Assistance with drafting documents or during the hearing? You can always engage the services of a lawyer or other legal advisor. A lawyer is not required for every case.

    Contact the Rechtspraak Service Centre

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