Most Dutch people understand very little about taxes and the annual tax return. Any decisions by the Tax Authorities are not understood and the decision itself only contains a numerical explanation. Once a year, a tax return must be filed for the past year. The declaration must be submitted no later than April 1. The tax return program has made tax reporting easier. You can obtain information about the relevant question for each section to be completed. However, it is still not easy.
Taxpayers who own their own home or who have deductions in some other way can receive an advance (provisional refund) for the current year. However, a provisional refund must be completed very carefully. You can easily complete the program in such a way that you get too much back each month. Ultimately, when you file your tax return, it turns out that you have to repay hundreds, perhaps even thousands of euros. You must complete a provisional refund in such a way that you do not get the most out of it. You will receive the remaining amount back when you file your tax return for the year.
You have to pay back a large amount, what now?
Due to an error in the provisional refund, but also due to an incorrect withholding by the employer, you may find yourself in a situation where you have to repay a large amount. For example, if you have received an excess of €75 in provisional refund every month, you will have to repay €900 over a year. Upon receipt of the settlement with the amount to be repaid, the Tax Authorities will give you an ample period to repay. If the amount is too much for you, you must contact them immediately upon receipt to arrange a payment arrangement. You should not wait until the amount is due to be paid. In many cases, the Tax Authorities themselves send a letter in which they propose a refund arrangement.
We can’t make it more fun, but we can make it easier
The Tax Authorities try, according to their slogan, to make it easy for us, but unfortunately that often does not work. Due to a mistake by your employer, you may pay too little tax. After the annual tax return, the tax authorities will find out and will send you a decision. You will then receive a letter at home with an acceptance giro, with a calculation on the back of the letter of how they arrived at the amount to be repaid. As a layman, you do not know what caused it and, more importantly, whether it is actually correct. You should consult an expert for advice.
Where can you get free advice about taxes?
You can look up many things on the Tax Authorities’ website, but if you have a specific question about something you do not understand, this is often not the solution. You can also call the Tax Authorities via the Tax Telephone (0800-0543). If this is not possible for you, you can schedule an appointment at one of the Regional Tax Offices via the Tax Telephone.
Get help completing the tax return
You can complete the annual tax return yourself, but you can also seek help from a tax advisor. You can also save money by having your tax return completed by your trade union or the elderly people’s association of which you are a member. They offer this service for free (or for a small fee). The elderly and people with a low income can go to a regional tax office for free. You can make an appointment for this via the Tax Telephone.