Complex conflict dossiers

Complex conflict dossiers

The Dutch Tax Office processes millions of tax cases every year. Most are handled efficiently. Some take a bit more time and effort. Just a few –about 150 cases– take a lot: excessive staff costs (more than double compared to average cases); excessive time investments (one full time employee in a five year period); excessive number of escalations (ten or more escalations in a five year period); excessive non-monetary costs (emotions and stress).

At a conservative guess, the Dutch Tax Office could save about € 3 million each year if they knew how to deal with these protracted cases. Not to mention the cost savings that could be achieved in the entire tax dispute chain, or the positive impact that a more effective dossier process could have on tax officers who deal with these cases on a daily basis. It would also lighten the burden of taxpayers who are probably having a hard time solving their tax issues.

HiiL and a team of tax inspectors are working on a treatment plan for these complex conflict dossiers. The first step is diagnosing the problem. What are the features of these complicated cases? How are they currently being dealt with? What triggers them? Are there any early warning signals?

The second step is searching for treatment options. What kind of interventions could be helpful in these cases? What is already in the dispute resolution repertoire of the Dutch Tax Office? What new plans or tools could be developed?

The third step involves action research. Existing and newly developed interventions will be applied to cases. What works? What doesn’t? Can other public organizations, that likely struggle with similar complex cases, benefit from the results?

The last step entails the implementation of interventions that have proven to be effective. This will reduce the time and money spent on these complex cases, and increase the overall efficiency of the Dutch Tax Office.

The diagnostic results will be available by the end of 2014. The action research will take place in the first half of 2015. The treatment plan, which is the key deliverable, is expected mid 2015.

Project details

Contact: Corry van Zeeland

Launch: begin 2014