As a result of the allowance affair, the Rutte III cabinet fell and there was a lot of criticism of the government and the tax authorities.

What actually happened?

A short summary.

In 2013, the government wants to tackle fraud harder.

For example with the childcare allowance.

That is tax money that non-wealthy parents receive to pay for the crèche and after-school care.

People who are not entitled to this at all regularly arrange such an allowance for themselves.

The cabinet and the tax authorities have both set up a team to better combat fraud.

Phase 1: Tens of thousands of people labeled as fraudsters

In the years that followed, tens of thousands of people were wrongly labeled as fraudsters by the tax authorities.

For example, because someone accidentally does not hand in a receipt to the tax authorities.

The Tax and Customs Administration later admits that it was involved in ethnic profiling at the time.

This means that people with two nationalities were more likely to be seen as fraudsters.

If you are seen as a fraud, then:

  • You will no longer receive allowances.

  • Do you have to pay back the money you received?

  • You are not entitled to a payment arrangement.

    Such a payment arrangement makes it easier to repay money to the government.

    For example, because you get more time.

Phase 2: People in need of money (and nobody is listening)

Many people get into debt as a result.

For example, they cannot repay the surcharge in one go.

Some also get other problems.

For example, they lose their house, their job, or their loved one.

For years, people have been trying to point out the government's mistake.

But there is no listening.

Even a critical report from the Ombudsman in 2017 is of little help.

Victims still regularly demonstrate about everything that was done to them.

Victims still regularly demonstrate about everything that was done to them.

Photo: ANP

Phase 3: The case finally comes to light

That will change when

RTL Nieuws

and the newspaper

Trouw report

about the case

in 2018


State Secretary of Finance Menno Snel resigns, among others.

And Minister of Finance Wopke Hoekstra files a declaration against the tax authorities.

The government is also conducting a special investigation into the case.

A parliamentary committee will do that.

He questions officials and politicians about their role in the case.

Their report

Unprecedented Injustice

will be published in December 2020


The report Unknown Injustice states that:

  • Cabinet members, Members of Parliament, the Ministry of Finance and the Tax and Customs Administration have not acted properly.

  • The committee believes that people have been treated unfairly.

    Too harsh action has been taken against the so-called 'fraudsters'.

    For years, their complaints were not listened to.

  • The tax authorities withheld information from politicians, the committee and the victims.

Phase 4: Victims get money (and the cabinet stops)

The victims will receive compensation of 30,000 euros per person.

Of course they don't have to go to court either.

There are also political consequences.

On January 14, PvdA member Lodewijk Asscher announced that he would retire from politics.

He was Minister of Social Affairs during the affair.

A day later, the entire cabinet resigns because of the case, as a sign that the ministers and state secretaries have done a bad job.

That doesn't mean they're completely gone.

They become resigned.

Until the next cabinet is in place, they only make decisions about things that cannot wait.

Corona for example.

It is now known that the victims do not have to repay their debts.

But still not everything is properly regulated by the government.

Some people still have money problems.

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An earlier version of this message stated that Asscher was State Secretary for Finance at the time. That's not right, he was Minister of Social Affairs. We've adjusted it.