Romance for tax inspectors
JUNE 15, 2022
Being fined thousands of euros when you haven’t paid a penny short of taxes: that happened to pianist Martin Oei. He is organizing a series of romantic concerts to which he invites tax inspectors. With the income from these, he wants to pay the tax authorities’ sky-high fine.
My parents helped me buy my house with a tax-free donation. So I did not have to pay taxes on that donation, but should have reported it in time. In itself, the Inland Revenue was aware because I paid substantial transfer tax, but I should have reported it again separately. Now the Inland Revenue is imposing a penalty of €2639. So I didn’t pay a penny underpayment of tax, but the Inland Revenue thinks it is reasonable to penalize that heavily. I asked for leniency, but that was rebuffed. That fine is absurdly high. Compare it with other fines.’
Running a red light can be life-threatening, the fine for that is €250 – Assault (resulting in injury) has a fine of €750. I get a fine five times higher because I forgot to report that I did not have to pay gift tax. I have not endangered anyone and my fine is ten times higher than someone who drives through red lights ten times and gets caught every time.
With this action I want to call attention to the extremely high fines imposed by the Inland Revenue. There is no point in appealing; the processing official considers the fine appropriate to the default. My argument that it is unreasonable that the same government that made it impossible for me to give concerts for two years is punishing me so severely, the Inland Revenue brushes me aside. I think many citizens recognize this attitude of the Tax Administration: unreasonably harsh.
I urge tax inspectors with a heart for classical music to come to one of my home concerts and give generously. With fifty tax inspectors donating an average of about €50 (tax free), I can meet the fine. I will let them hear beautiful piano music, such as Rachmaninov’s Elegy (Lament). ‘