As you may or may not know. I have a small company which sells Casualty Simulation Victim supplies, it's a small business with small margins due to the fact that most Casualty Sims in NL work on non-profit basis (or even charity).
My first salestax declaration I had to do by hand and was well within the time limit. The second however I had to do by a 'secured internet site'. Now you have to know, that in NL we know something that is called DigID, which is a governmental electronic ID to do all kinds of digital transactions and information on governmental sites. So I totally assumed that I had to use my DigID to do this tax declaration.
The week before the deadline (23rd of October) - well within the limits- I sat behind my computer to do this digital declaration, only to find out that I apparently needed a specific other loginID and password. It was Saturday, late in the afternoon, so I had to wait until Monday to call the Tax Authorities to request this ID and login.
I got a lady on the telephone which told me that she would send a new ID and WW which could take up to 8 (!!!) workingdays to arrive. So I told her I would be late with my declaration if it was to arrive later than the 31st of October (deadline).
She told me that when I was within 7 days of the 31 st (and I assume workingdays here too) that would make 9th of November I was still 'good'. I was worried since I'm away a lot and told her this; she told me that she would make a note and that I would be fine (perhaps she meant 'fined').
I got the ID on the 2nd of November and the password on the 4th of November. I was away then, so when I arrived at home I inmediately did my declaration (on the 11th).
Mind you: my declaration was 'negative' so the authorities would have to pay me instead of me paying them.
So, yesterday I got a 'bleu envelope' with a notice of omission and a fine for 56 EUR. and I was appalled.
Today I called the Tax Authorities and told them the story and that I followed procedures within my limits.
The guy who was on the phone simply said. You were too late and the penalty for that is 56 EUR.
When I told him of the letter that had arrive during absence and that I told the lady on the 25th and she would make a not; he said; It's not in the system, only that your declaration is too late. It's your responsibility to be at home when this letter arrives (what???) and you should have taken actions (what???). You should have known earlier that you had to have these other ID and password or you shouldn't have lost them (I didn't loose them; it was my first request!) and after that he concluded that there is no such thing as a extention of enddate for these declarations (why did the lady than say there would be a note???)
So I told him I didn't find it proper behaviour from the Tax Authorities in this case: I was on time (with both the request of the ID/Password AND the mentioning that I wouldn't be able to do the declaration because of not being on location when it would come in), than saying there would be a note and than nevertheless send me a fine... He said (and this made me really furious!) : that's your opinion but nevertheless you have to pay up.
Do they teach those guys to give answers that infuriate people?
Why aren't there any exception business rules; surely I'm not the only one that encounters these problems? Is the Dutch economic situation THAT bad that the Tax Authorities are into 'easy money' obtained by these (I find unethical) practices?
At least it 'cleares' a bit of the frustrated feeling to blog about this. I'm only a small business/ one person and the Tax Authorities are a huge organisation who can do a lot more 'nasty stuff' to you if you don't obey, so I won't be able to do much more than warn people that if 'they' say that they will make a note when requesting a extension of sales tax and it'll be okay: there is no such thing and they will fine you no matter what the circumstances and there will be no warning either.