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Tax audit

The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration has different avenues for conducting a tax audit. These include a letter of questions, a review of accounting records (Section 47 of the Dutch State Taxes Act) or a third-party investigation (Sections 48 and 53 of the Dutch State Taxes Act).

When you are being audited, you may well ask yourself the following questions: Am I expected to cooperate with the tax audit or review? What are my rights? What rules do the tax authorities have to abide by? Am I a victim of improper or unlawful conduct on the part of the government?

Tax audit – rights and obligations

When you are being audited, you should know what your rights and obligations are. The tax authorities will ask you to provide information that is potentially relevant to your tax position. It is up to you, as a taxpayer, to decide whether or not to provide such information. The tax authorities are not permitted to seize information during a tax audit, nor are they allowed to examine a taxpayer's computer or emails during an audit or third-party investigation. Looking through digital information using search terms is subject to safeguards. The right to privacy during a tax audit is a key safeguard. The tax authorities cannot use the letter of questions to go on a fishing expeditions they are expected to adhere to the general principles of good governance, like the principle of proportionality. Tax opinions and correspondence with privileged professionals do not fall under the requirement to provide information of Section 47 of the Dutch State Taxes Act. For more information about the limits of this requirement, click here.

Tax audit support

A tax audit can have far-reaching implications for a taxpayer; if the audit takes the form of a third-party investigation, the third party may be seriously affected as well. That is why it is crucial that the position and interests of the taxpayer or third party are protected. We have long-standing experience in supporting clients during tax audits. We know that staying in control during an audit is essential. We can help you prepare for a tax audit, define your strategy, communicate with the tax authorities and navigate the audit process. Together with you, we will decide whether we are to be the first point of contact for the tax authorities during your tax audit or whether you would prefer us to look after your interests from behind the scenes. Our shared goal is to have the tax audit progress as smoothly as possible and not to provide more information to the tax authorities than is strictly necessary. Our involvement can range from engaging with the tax authorities to arrange for the provision of information to conducting proceedings about whether or not information has to be provided (e.g., in a civil action or proceedings protesting an information order).

Tax assessment, revised tax assessment and additional tax assessment

The tax authorities may decide to impose a tax assessment during or after a tax audit. This is subject to certain rules. For instance, to impose a revised tax assessment, the tax inspector must be authorised to do so and when imposing an additional VAT assessment, the principle of defence is to be observed. Thanks to our extensive experience, we know all about these rules. This helps us to carefully prepare your procedural position. In doing so, we look at procedural aspects, like the allocation of the burden of proof and the nature of the adjustments. Do you have a strong case? What are the weak points in your defence? After we have mapped out your procedural position, we will sit down with you to talk strategy. The deadline for filing objections to tax assessments is six weeks. During the objection procedure, a taxpayer has the right to inspect their file and to be heard. For more information, see tax litigation.

Please do not hesitate to contact one of our specialists if you have questions about a tax audit.

Contact our specialists

A.A. (Anke) Feenstra

P.J. (Peter) van Hagen

A.J.C. (Angelique) Perdaems

R. (Roelof) Vos

R.J. (Reinder) de Jong

R. (Ron) Jeronimus

D.C. (Diede) Molenaars

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