Administrative Mistakes and the Rise of Digital Government in France, Italy, and the Netherlands

This paper aims to compare the legal treatment of administrative mistakes in digital tax procedures in France, Italy, and The Netherlands. It defines administrative mistakes as non-intentional errors or oversights made by citizens when applying for public services and fulfilling their duties before government (e.g., pay taxes). Administrative mistakes often result from a combination of socioeconomic and cultural factors rather than from the intent to commit tax fraud. In an attempt to improve the trust of citizens in digital governments, some European legislators have designed new rights and tools to take into account citizens’ good faith in the context of digital government. An example is the French “right to make a mistake” which allows citizens to commit “one administrative mistake in good faith in their lives” without being sanctioned. This article compares this perspective to other less systematic approaches to mistakes in Italy and The Netherlands.