Additional parking tax assessments quashed
The collection of parking tax customarily takes place at municipal (or council) level. Drivers who do not bother paying at all or who overstay the allotted time run the risk of being treated to an additional assessment. The idea is that the parking tax should be paid as soon as the driver in question has finished parking his or her car, with the relevant payment having to be identifiable by parking enforcement officers. Recipients of an additional parking tax assessment will feel ticked off – so ticked off, in fact, that some of them will let the matter go to court, as the following two examples aptly illustrate.
Having noticed that a particular car lacked a visible parking token, the parking enforcement officer I question promptly levied an additional parking tax assessment. The officer had taken photographs showing part of the car’s dashboard. The owner of the car argued that he had bought a parking token and placed it on the dashboard, underneath the windscreen, in a place which the parking enforcement officer had happened to miss in his photographs. The time limit had not yet expired by the time the owner had got back to his car. The owner was able to substantiate his position by producing a copy of a parking token showing the parking fee and the ending time, which two details in combination with one another rendered it plausible that he owner of the car had paid his parking tax before the enforcement officer had written him up. This left it up to the municipal collection officer to come up with additional proof to the effect that the parking enforcement officer had established that no parking token had been on board the vehicle, as something in which according to the Court of Appeal the collection officer – by producing additional photographs or having a second parking enforcement officer make a corroborating statement – was unsuccessful. The Court of Appeal ended up quashing the additional parking tax assessment.
Anyone who has just parked his or her car has to be given “a reasonable amount of time” to pay the parking tax. What is “reasonable” depends on local circumstances. According to a particular municipal collection officer, three minutes should be more than enough time for anyone to pay his or her parking tax. However, the owner of a particular car begged to differ, arguing that the token vending machine nearest to his parked car only lent itself for payment using an electronic purse cash system which had since been discontinued. The ticket machine, whose card reading slot had not been rendered unusable, had not been provided with a warning to car owners not to insert their debit card. As soon as the car owner had entered his arrival time and the parking time of his choice, the display of the machine had switched to “internal fault”. The car owner had taken this to mean that the machine had gone on the blink, and had started looking for another machine to pay his parking tax. This sequence of events convinced the Court of Appeal that the car owner had had every reason to act the way he had, with the Court ruling that three minutes had not been “a reasonable amount of time” in this particular scenario and going on to quash the additional assessment.
Dutch version: Naheffingsaanslagen parkeerbelasting vernietigd