Last Friday, the Dutch government announced plans to shorten the 30 percent ruling for foreign employees from eight years to five. A week after being posted, the petition protesting the plans has gotten nearly 15,000 signatures.
By Traci White
Currently, 30 percent of the income earned by highly skilled foreign employees in the Netherlands is tax exempt for eight years. Under the new ruling, which is supposed to take effect on 1 January, 2019, the tax exempt period would be shortened to five years.
A petition posted by Mike Arthur on change.org titled “Dutch Ministry of Finance: Don’t Screw Over Expats” got more than 4,000 signatures within 24 hours and was nearing 15,000 after being online for a week. The petition is addressed to the cabinet and the Dutch secretary general of the ministry of finance, Manon Leijten.
“The change will be retroactive, negatively impacting thousands of expats in the Netherlands who have built their financial lives around the expectation that the Dutch government would honor the deal they offered us that brought us here in the first place”, Arthur writes.
DutchNews writes that the tax incentive began as a way to encourage Dutch companies to “import skilled workers and offset the cost of relocation”. Roughly 60,000 foreign employees currently benefit from the ruling, which applies to workers who earn more than 53,000 euros a year and moved to the Netherlands from more than 150 kilometres away.
A report in 2017 found that around 80 percent of foreign employees do not use the ruling for longer than five years. The remaining 20 percent who do use it for the full duration tend to be people who settle in the Netherlands on a more permanent basis rather than as expats.
But that is exactly the problem, according to Arthur: it seems to be punishing the internationals living here who are not expats. “[People] who have had children or purchased homes with their financial plans based on an 8 year 30% ruling are now in an incredibly frustrating position.”