Effect of principle of legitimate expectations
Municipal taxes underwent harmonisation in the wake of a municipal overhaul effective 1 January 2007. In the past only one of the municipalities which were amalgamated as at said date had levied sewer system charges on the owners of static caravans within recreation grounds. Once the harmonisation of municipal taxes had been completed, however, sewer system charges were introduced throughout the newly created municipality.
The tenant of a parking space for a static caravan in late 2009 received a sewer system assessment for the year 2007 where he had never been charged accordingly in earlier years. In 2010 he went on to receive an assessment for 2008. According to the Bois-le-Duc Court of Appeal, the official in charge of levying the municipal taxes had sparked the tenant’s legitimate expectation – which expectation qualified for statutory protection – that no sewer system charges were to be levied where the caravan space was concerned, which legitimate expectation the covering letter accompanying the tax assessment for 2007 had caused to lapse. As the 2008 assessment was imposed at a later date, by then the tenant was no longer in a position successfully to argue that he had relied on legitimate expectation.
The Supreme Court disagreed, however, arguing that the legitimate expectation having been sparked should be regarded as continuing to be upheld for the duration of such terms of tax levying as had anticipated the date with effect from which said expectation was caused to lapse, and duly set aside the tax assessment.