According to a statement from the Dutch Tax Services, earthquake victims who receive compensation to repair their damaged property may be taxed for having greater financial assets.
Translation by Traci White
Dagblad van het Noorden reports that the Dutch tax services could count money disbursed in 2018 as compensation for earthquake damage that is still in a person’s bank account on 1 January 2019 toward that person’s means-tested income.
Many subsidies, including rent, health care and child care, are income-dependent in the Netherlands. “Your income and your assets will influence your benefits. If you receive damage compensation in 2018 and either a portion or the entirety of that money is still in your bank account on 1 January 2019, then that will be counted toward your assets”, the Belastingdienst site reads.
Socialist party MP Sandra Beckerman told Radio Noord that she was in disbelief over the policy. “So many Groningers have been fighting for compensation for years, and I know some people who have just given up and accepted a much smaller amount of compensation because they have just gotten numb. And now you have to pay part of that money back, and then choose between actually fixing your house or paying for your health care or your children.”
Beckerman also expressed her frustration at what she described as a “lucrative tax deal” for Shell. “They got a 7-billion-euro tax break. Where is our deal?” Beckerman and Labour Party MP Henk Nijboer are submitting formal parliamentary questions about the tax policy. There will be a parliamentary debate on Thursday about the gas extraction, and another debate on 3 July about the induced earthquakes.