Digital Information Project: Team 21 the Belastingdienst


“Leuker kunnen we het niet maken, wel makkelijker.”

This famous quote from the Belastingdienst translates into “We cannot make it more fun, but we can make it easier.”  As the tax collecting institution of the Netherlands, most of the Belastingdienst’s processes are related to collecting taxes and paying fees. This all to make the Netherlands more liveable. However, in general many people are not satisfied with its performance, because many mistakes are made and the impact is considered substantious.

The Belastingdienst does not always fail to implement IT projects. In 2011 it successfully implemented the Nieuwe Toeslagen Systeem, which makes it possible to access all information concerning allowances in one portal. Thus, for all allowances only one year income can be filled in. Before, one could fill in different (estimated) incomes in the different allowances portals. After introducing this system the fraud rate decreased and the customer satisfaction increased.

Still users remain dissatisfied with the Belastingdienst. The biggest problem causing the dissatisfaction are the disintegrated systems at the Belastingdienst. Over time many changes have been made in the concerning systems which make them incompatible with each other. Because of the lack of integration mistakes can easily be made and fraud is not always detected. Another problem is that information is not easily accessible for many users. Different websites and applications exist which makes users to navigate to different platforms in order to find the right information, which causes dissatisfaction, confusion and increases the user’s search costs.

We believe that we found a way to finally make it easier: one integrated online platform. The first step is to integrate the existing systems from the different departments. When this is done successfully, the platform can be build and the users can access their personalized information on one screen. With this platform, the Belastingdienst can provide its users with information adapted to their specific situation. For example, for us as students information will be provided about side jobs and about our rights to receive rent allowances.

The figure below depicts the different departments of the Belastingdienst that need to be integrated. In order to achieve this the information exchange between the departments needs to both increase and smoothen.Featured image

We conducted a feasibility analysis and concluded that the proposed platform would be challenging to implement, however possible. The principal challenge is the Belastingdienst’s outdated database. Its database dates from the sixties, and over time different applications have been added with their own programming style. Another difficulty is that the Belastingdienst has to deal with Big Data. Many researchers claim that big data provides a lot of benefits for companies, but it is for sure that this recent development also presents firms with challenges. The managers need to set clear goals and define what success looks like. Furthermore, the right talent needs to be attracted and retained within the organisation to optimize the use of big data. All these factors need to be taken into account by the Belastingdienst in order to successfully use its IT structure (McAfee & Brynjolfsson, 2012).

We believe that this can make a difference, both for the Belastingdienst and us as users. What do you think? How do you envision this platform?

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