Denmark overhauls its tax department

Outside the country, Denmark is known for its high tax rates. This would probably lead people outside Denmark to believe that the Danish taxation system is a well-oiled machine. If you live in Denmark, you know this is hardly the case however, as the Tax Department has been riddled with scandals.

These scandals have mostly related to IT projects, but in recent times, they have also related to bad controls, which have led to foreign swindlers getting tax returns that they should not have had in the region of $2 billion. On top of that, are problems with collecting back taxes and other money owned the state.

The scandals, and especially the loss of such a huge amount, has led to a major reform of the tax department.

Bloomsberg writes about it in this article: Billions in Losses Trigger Danish Overhaul of Taxation Model

Of course, the headline of the Bloomsberg article is nonsense – the Danish taxation model is going to stay the same. Rather it is the processes for paying out tax returns and collecting past taxes is getting overhauled, with more controls and better IT systems. As part of the overhaul, the department system of the Ministry of Taxation with get overhauled, splitting the Tax Department (which is one of the departments under the Ministry) into several departments. This is done to strengthening the expertise in the problem areas.

As someone who works with IT projects, I am curious of how the new structure and focus will change their way of doing IT. Many of the projects have in the past been huge projects, largely based on the waterfall model,  but in the last couple of years, both the Ministry of Taxation and the Taxation Department have tried to change this. The Ministry of Taxation has tried to change it by doing the development themselves, while the Taxation Department has tried to break projects into smaller bits, and using Agile.

All in all, it seems like a great idea to overhaul the department and ministry, but it comes down to the actual implementation.

Denmark needs to change its rape laws

Content notice: The following blogpost will discuss a recent rape case in Denmark, where the perpetrators were found innocent.

There is something seriously wrong with Danish rape laws.

That is the only conclusion any rational person can reach after a Danish court found 3 young men innocent of rape of a young woman who said she was unconscious due to alcohol and insulin deficiency.

According to the newspapers, the defender managed to argue that the men thought that the women had consented to sex, and since she didn’t say no, they couldn’t know that she didn’t want to have sex with them.

It appears that the medical reports state that the insulin and levels were not enough to make her unconscious, and the judge didn’t think that her alcohol level were enough to make her unable to say no. Even if we ignore the fact that the judge isn’t really able to evaluate the combined effect of alcohol and insulin deficiency, it shows a very real problem, where a lack of no, is considered a yes by the courts.

That is unacceptable.

Denmark should change the laws, so it requires an explicit consent. or even better, a enthusiastic consent. For more on enthusiastic consent, see this post by Dr. Nerdlove or this post over at XOJane.

The court decision will probably get appealed, but even if the men get convicted at a higher court, the lower court’s decisions clearly shows that Denmark’s law have to be fundamentally changed, so they don’t focus on whether the perpetrators knew that the victim didn’t want to have sex, but instead changes to focus on whether there were consent or not.

Such a change would have several effects, among them changing the whole rhetoric around rape victims (“why didn’t she say no?”), teaching young men and women that they should get consent and not just avoid a “no”, and finally, getting more rape convictions.