Defective tax returns: does it matter who intentionally files them?
The State Taxes Act of the Netherlands features a number of penal provisions, one of which deals with the intentional filing of defective tax returns (the “defect” in question being defined as inaccuracy and/or incompleteness), which – depending on the particulars of the case – carries a maximum prison sentence of six years or a fine where the filer of the defective tax return is subsequently found wilfully to have diddled the taxman.
According to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, only the person who or party which has liability for filing can be found guilty of having submitted defective returns. As the filing obligation applies to any person whom or party which the Tax and Customs Administration invites to submit a tax return, it follows that any scenario involving a defective tax return having been filed by a substitute acting on behalf of the person or party having filing liability will not permit said substitute to be regarded as the criminal offender. The Supreme Court had no choice but to quash a ruling to the contrary by the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, in a case which involved the latter Court identifying the proprietor of an accounting consultancy who had filed defective tax returns on behalf of his clientele as the perpetrator of the criminal offence in question. The case was redirected to the Court of Appeal for read judication.
Dutch version: Wie kan opzettelijk een onjuiste aangifte doen?