Inadmissibility of objection to offence-related (tax) penalty
A six-week window is available for objecting to a tax assessment in order for the objection not to be branded inadmissible (unless the failure to meet the deadline is excusable). Taxpayers who have their consultant file their objections for them should know better than to count on their not being held accountable themselves if their consultant misses a filing deadline.
An objection to an offence-related fine is not admissible on principle or, so the Arnhem-Leeuwarden Court of Appeal argued, it does not in any event follow from a particular 2008 Supreme Court ruling that such an objection should be admissible no matter what. The Supreme Court in the relevant ruling came to the conclusion that the onus of proof of the stakeholder not having been remiss when filing his notice of objection should not rest with the stakeholder himself in so far as it was the fine against which his objection had been aimed.
It was clear in the proceedings before the Arnhem-Leeuwarden Court of Appeal that the taxpayer’s then tax consultant’s laxity had resulted in the notices of objection being filed at too late a stage. As the inspector of taxes was not calling the taxpayer’s explanation into question, it was up to the Court to decide whether the stated reason was sufficient to render the taxpayer’s failure to meet the deadline excusable. The stakeholder himself always remains accountable for third-party acts or actions performed on his behalf, and it is therefore up to the stakeholder himself to come up with special facts or circumstances bearing out that an exception should be made in a particular case. The Court of Appeal in the matter in hand ended up ruling that the objection had rightly been branded inadmissible as the filing deadline had been missed.
Dutch version: Bezwaar tegen boete niet altijd ontvankelijk