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Taxes, Benefits and Social Security

30% Tax Ruling

This is a tax incentive for employees who are recruited from abroad who bring specific skills to the Netherlands. Such employees are considered “extraterritorial” employees. Under this ruling, the employer may provide 30% of the wages as an allowance including compensation for the additional extraterritorial costs of the employee’s temporary stay in the Netherlands. This allowance is tax-free and has a maximum term of eight years.

Examples of extraterritorial costs are:

  •  Additional costs for maintenance because prices in the Netherlands are higher than those in the country you come from. Examples of these extra expenses include meals, gas, water and electricity.
  •  Costs for a trip taken to the Netherlands in order to get acquainted with the country (e.g. to look for a house or a school), possibly with your family.
  •  Cost of applying for or converting official personal documents, such as residency permits, visas and driver’s licenses.
  •  Cost of medical tests and vaccinations for the stay in the Netherlands.
  •  Double accommodation costs if you keep your residence in your home country (e.g. hotel costs).
  •  Additional (including initial) accommodation costs. If your employer provides you with free accommodation, a sum for that accommodation will be taxed as income. Allowances for furniture are not subject to this arrangement.
  •  Storage costs for your household effects that you do not move to the Netherlands.
  •  Cost of travel to your home country (e.g. for a family visit or a family reunion).
  •  Additional cost of having the income tax return filled in by an adviser if this is more expensive than having the return filled in by a comparable tax adviser in your home country. A threshold of €1,000 applies.
  •  Cost of a Dutch language course for you and the family members staying with you.
  •  Additional (non-business) costs of telephone calls to your home country.
  •  Cost of applying for a social security exemption, such as an A1 or E101 statement.

Examples of non-extraterritorial costs are:

  •  secondment allowances, bonuses and comparable payments (foreign service premium, expat allowance, overseas allowance)
  •  capital losses
  •  purchase and sales costs of a home (reimbursement expenses purchase house, brokers fee)
  •  compensation for higher tax rates in the country of employment (tax equalization)

Scarcity, specific expertise

If an employer recruits an employee from abroad, this person is considered an incoming employee. If this employee has expertise that is unavailable or scarce on the Dutch labor market, and has lived more than 150 km from the Dutch border for the past 24 months, the 30% facility for incoming employees will apply.

In assessing whether the above is the case, the Tax and Customs Administration takes the following factors into account:

  • the employee’s level of education
  • the employee’s relevant experience
  • the remuneration level of the position in the Netherlands in relation to the remuneration level in the employee’s country of origin

Application of the 30% facility for incoming employees requires the permission of the Tax and Customs Administration. The employer and the incoming employee will have to file a joint request to this end. The application is called “Verzoek loonheffingen 30%-regeling 2014” (Application for the 30% facility to be applied), and it is only available in Dutch.

Seconded to the Netherlands by an international group

If an employee is seconded to the Netherlands by an international group, this may involve scarce, specific expertise without the above factors having to be assessed. In that case, the employee should fulfill the following 3 requirements:

  • The employee has been seconded to the Netherlands as part of a rotation scheme within an international group.
  • The employee holds a middle or senior management position within this group.
  • The employee has at least two and a half years’ experience within this group.

Term

The 30% facility for employees from abroad has a maximum term of eight years. The term starts on the first working day. This term may be reduced. This happens in the following cases:

  • Employee already worked or stayed in the Netherlands: An employee who comes from abroad but already stayed or worked in the Netherlands at an earlier stage, will have their term reduced by the period in which they stayed in the Netherlands.
  • Request not submitted within 4 months: The joint request for application of the facility should be filed within 4 months after the start of the incoming employee’s employment. If the request is made after this period, the term will be reduced.
  • Employee’s expertise is no longer scarce: After five years, the Tax and Customs Administration may ask the employer to demonstrate that his/her employee still fulfills the requirement of specific expertise. It is possible that the employee’s expertise is no longer as scarce on the Dutch labor market as when he or she was hired or seconded from abroad. The employer can judge whether the incoming employee’s expertise is still scarce on the Dutch labor market, or have this assessed by the Tax and Customs Administration. To this end, you can submit a request to the Tax and Customs Administration/Limburg/Department of International Affairs. If it appears that the employee no longer fulfills the condition of scarce, specific expertise, the facility will end with effect from the 61st month. If the employee still meets the conditions, the facility will apply until the end of the term (with a maximum of eight years).

Change of withholding agent for employees from abroad

If an employee changes jobs, the 30% facility may be continued as usual. This will then require a joint request from the employee and his or her new employer. In this context, the period between the old and the new employment must not exceed three months. In this request, the new employer must demonstrate that the employee still fulfills the condition of scare, specific expertise.