The written word: Part 2

Last week a familiar blue envelope appeared in our post box. It was a set of tax return forms for tax year 2010 for me to fill in. As we have emigrated from the Netherlands we can no longer do our tax returns on our computers using that handy program that the Belastingdienst creates each year. Oh no, that would be too simple.

This year we will have to do it on paper, and two sets of paper, one for me and one for Damae. The tax return is called an M-aangifte and strikes terror into the hearts of emigrating former-residents of the Netherlands. The forms come with a ninety-eight page  ‘toelichting’ in Dutch (which we can read of course). However, on the front is says in friendly letters “This explanation is also available in English on the internet. Look at”. So I looked, as naturally it would make life a lot easier trying to digest those written words in English rather than Dutch. After twenty minutes I realised that I couldn’t find it.

I phoned the Belastingdienst in Holland, and after the obligatory ten minute wait in the queue (it must have been a quiet day) I got a gentleman on the line who informed me that there was indeed no English version of the ‘toelichting’. He also explained that the English text on the front of the Dutch version was a ‘drukfout’ or misprint to you and me.

That’s some misprint if you ask me – “Oh I meant to print nothing on that part of the paper but accidently slotted the following words in moveable type into the printing press: ‘This explanation is also available in English on the internet. Look at’. Sorry guv, I’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again”. Yep, that is one amazing misprint.

I digress, as I often do.

Although we have until late June 2011 to submit the completed forms, it looks like during quiet evenings in the next couple of months, our combined abilities in comprehending written Dutch will be taxed to the limit.


Taxed to the lim…………… I’ll get my coat.