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There are a few benefits or benefits (toeslagen, in Dutch) for which you may be eligible while living in the Netherlands. A benefit is an amount paid directly to your bank account from the Tax Service (Belastingdienst) for a particular purpose.
Whether or not you are eligible for these benefits and what the amount would be, depends on a number of factors. The amounts of the benefits may vary from year to year. Also, if your personal circumstances change (share an apartment, start living with someone, get married or become registered partners, change jobs, receive higher salary, change address, etc), then these changes may influence your eligibility to receive the benefits.
On the Tax Service site, you can find some information in English about various benefits for which you might be eligible. To determine if you are eligible for the benefit(s), answer the questions for the trial calculation at this link (NOTE: the trial calculation is only in Dutch).
The material can be complex. You would be well advised to engage the services of one of the IWCN service partners, listed below, who deal with these matters:
Blue Umbrella, Expat Management Group, HLB Nannen, Paping Belastingadvies, or SKSG (SKSG only for childcare benefit)
Of course you could ask someone in your surroundings, who has full understanding of Dutch, to help you. But you have to be very sure that your application is correct. The Tax Service checks some conditions on your application before administering the benefit, but initially assumes the information you fill in is correct. If something is not correct, the Tax Service may not discover it until (sometimes) years later. Thus, you want to avoid a situation where you do, indeed, receive a benefit only to find out perhaps years later that this was unjustified and that you have to pay it all back!
Benefits income (toetsinginkomen)
The income used by the Belastingdienst in general is your taxable (in the Netherlands), world-wide taxable income, including 13th month, bonuses and vacation pay; including 13th month, bonuses and vacation pay of any benefit partner. This income is referred to as your Collective income (Verzamelinkomen).
To determine if you are eligible for Benefits, the Belastingdienst defines the term Benefits income (toetsinginkomen). The Benefits income is the sum of your Collective income plus the “not in the NL taxable, world-wide taxable income” or Niet in Nederland belastbare inkomen (NiNbi).
The NiNbi is defined by law and is the difference between your Collective income with and without exemptions based on international law.
The Belastingdienst has recently determined that a PhD scholarship is work-related income (either as an employee or as work from other sources).
Unlike bachelor and master students who can eventually claim an exemption to the income tax with regards to the scholarships/grants received from institutions in their home countries, the regulation for PhD students is different.
Even if the PhD scholarship is not taxed in the country issuing the scholarship, the Belastingdienst has determined that this scholarship/grant is to be considered as a periodic benefit in the Netherlands and, therefore, is taxable income in the Netherlands. Since the amount paid comes from foreign sources, this PhD scholarship is part of the NiNbi.
Hence, the amount received from the country of origin must be included in calculating the benefits income.
Example based on current information:
You receive a PhD scholarship from your home country (1200 euros). It is not taxed in your home country. You receive a scholarship from the University (400 euros). This is taxed in the Netherlands.
What is your Benefits income?
Benefits income = Collective income (400) + NiNbi (1200) = 1600 euros
Some of the factors for 2018 are (these can vary from year to year):
PLEASE NOTE: If you are a foreign student and only in the Netherlands for the purpose of studying and are not employed here, you are NOT eligible for health insurance benefit (please see Tax Service site).
# co-occupants: people who live with you and are registered at the same address with the Municipality (medebewoners, in Dutch)
For more information in English on child budget, look on the SVB site.
A co-occupant is someone who lives with you and is registered at the same address with the Municipality (medebewoner, in Dutch).
If you live in a split dwelling with only one house number or a shared dwelling, beware that co-occupants may count as fellow residents at this address. Usually, only one occupant of the same address (post code and house number) can apply for rent benefit! Check your signed rental contract address with the address that you are registered at with the Municipality to see if they agree exactly (both must say, for example, 1b). If different, check with the Tax Service before applying.