As of 1 January 2012, VAT entrepreneurs are required to inform the Dutch tax authorities as soon as they are aware that a VAT return in the last five years (i.e. the years 2007 up to and including 2011) has been submitted based on inaccurate and/or incorrect figures due to which too much or not enough VAT has been remitted.

This measure forms part of a package of measures against fraudulent transactions. Also part of the fraud prevention measures is the active obligation to correct the original VAT return through reporting the correct amount of VAT to be paid in the supplementary VAT return.

The supplementary VAT return is not unfamiliar to Dutch VAT entrepreneurs. Prior to 1 January 2012, VAT entrepreneurs could report inaccurate data through a supplementary VAT return. However, this used to be voluntary whereas now an active obligation exists to inform the authorities about the inaccurate figures as soon as the VAT entrepreneur is aware of this.

This measure to actively report implies that as of 1 April 2012 VAT entrepreneurs are obliged to make the corrections through the standard supplementary VAT return as provided by the authorities. Thus, it is no longer possible to inform the authorities about changes in a previous VAT return through a letter. However, the standard form of the supplementary VAT return cannot in all cases be used to provide all information needed to make the correction. In the latter cases it is recommended to add an accompanying letter to the supplementary VAT return and send this to the authorities.

The latter implies that the supplementary VAT return should be filed as soon as possible. Failure to file the supplementary VAT return on time may incur a penalty (i.e. at least before the VAT entrepreneur knows or may reasonably suspect that the authorities will become aware of the inaccuracy). As soon as the authorities are aware of the incorrect VAT return, it is in principle no longer possible for the VAT entrepreneur to file the supplementary VAT return in time.

The penalty for failure to notify the authorities (in time) can be as high as 100 percent of the unreported amount, provided this would be an amount payable. These penalties will apply in addition to the penalties for late payment/late filing of the VAT return and interest on underpaid VAT.

An exception to the above applies when the corrected amount is relatively small. In that respect a correction of EUR1,000 or less may also be processed in the next periodical VAT return.