Tax officials reprimanded with reward

Two tax executives facing civil suits are rewarded with huge bonuses, as is a key player in ‘Taxgate’

You reap what you sow, or at least so the idiom goes. But when it comes to Denmark's top tax officials, the evidence appears to be pointing to the contrary.


Despite two tax executives being criticised for their illegal handling of various tax matters and having civil suits filed against them, the officials have been rewarded with large bonuses based on their "exceptional" efforts in the 2012 tax year, the tabloid BT revealed.


According to BT, the bonuses were paid out in April of this year, following an evaluation of the officials' work in the 2012 tax year. Deputy chief executive Preben Buchholtz Hansen of the now closed-down ØkoKrim, which focused on economic crime, received a 67,000 kroner bonus for 2012, an increase of 28,000 compared to his bonus in 2011. Marie Raavig, then former director of Skat Nordsjælland, received 60,000 kroner, 15,000 more than the year prior. She was heavily involved in Skat's criticised handling of former Pandora tycoon Jesper 'Kasi' Nielsen. 


Also receiving a large bonus was Erling Andersen, who as the director of Skat Copenhagen played a key role in 'Taxgate', the illegal leak of PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt's personal tax audit. Andersen received a 91,000 kroner bonus, which is 33,100 kroner more than his 2011 bonus.


READ MORE: Tax authority shake up after damning report


Tax minister wants an explanation
The decision to reward the officials is being scrutinised.


"ØkoKrim was abolished because the division was far too aggressive and neglected due process for the sake of bringing money in," Thomas Rønfeldt, an associate professor and PhD in tax law at Aalrbog University, told BT. "Simultaneously, the executive gets a bonus for the job well done in scraping together funds for the public purse. It just goes to show a lack of principle in the bonus scheme." 


The tax minister, Holger K Nielsen (Socialistisk Folkeparti), who in June said he expected Skat to "clean up where it is needed" following an ombudsman's report that condemned Skat's tactics in investigating suspected fraud, said he wanted an explanation for the bonuses. 


"It is not me, but rather Skat management that assesses what its officials should receive in bonuses, but I will ask Skat's director general [Jesper Rønnow Simonsen] for an explanation of what's up and what's down here," Nielsen told BT. "I would also point out that I recently began work on looking at how the top officials in the ministry and Skat are paid."

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