Tech & Rights

Dutch Tax Authority Violates Law by Processing Personal ID Numbers

The Tax and Customs Administration has no legal basis to use the citizen service number in the VAT identification number of self-employed persons. This practice must be stopped as soon as possible.

by Nederlands Juristen Comité voor de Mensenrechten

The determination was reported in a study by the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA), which has told the Tax and Customs Administration must terminate the identified violations as quickly as possible. If this does not happen, the DPA can take enforcement measures.

The citizen service number is a legal identification number to facilitate communication between government and citizens. Citizens can use their citizen service number at every counter of the government.

The advantage of a citizen service number is that citizens do not have to submit their personal data time and time again when they pay a visit to a government organization.

Identity theft

This makes it vulnerable at the same time: if the citizen service number falls into the wrong hands, it could possibly lead to identity fraud.

A malicious person can, for example, rent a car with the personal data of another person and thereby cause damage.

Self-employed persons cannot protect their citizen service numbers. They are obliged to make their citizen service number known because it forms part of their VAT identification number.

The Tax and Customs Administration already promised in 2017 to come with a plan to solve the problem. But this has not happened yet.

The DPA has demanded a solution before 1 January 2019. The minister of finance has already indicated that this deadline will not be met.