Recent news about the 30% tax ruling in the Netherlands could have substantial implications for British expats and their financial planning and wealth management strategies.
The 30% tax ruling for expats in the Netherlands enables employers to offer working expats 30% of their salary tax-free as long as they meet certain requirements. The intended aim is to encourage highly skilled workers from around the globe to bring their expertise to the Netherlands. After all, relocating to the Netherlands is not cheap, and the tax advantage is there to help offset all the expense that comes with relocating. There are approximately 60,000 expats who currently claim the tax break.
As we reported last year, the tax break came under fire in a report published by the Dutch research bureau Dialogic for being far too generous and, therefore, costing the Dutch government too much money for it to be sustainable. When published in June 2017, the report suggested several reforms to the system, including shortening the number of years that expats could claim the tax-relief from eight years to five. This was because research carried out by Dialogic found that the vast majority of expats making use of the benefit (80%) claimed it for fewer than five years; less than 10% actually claimed the benefit for the full eight years.
And it appears the Dutch government has heeded the report, much to the disappointment of many expats who may have seen the 30% tax ruling as a main motivating factor in their decision to move to the country, because the time limit on the 30% ruling for expats will indeed be reduced to just five years, with effect from January 1, 2019.
The reduced duration will apply not only to new expats moving to the Netherlands but also to those already benefitting from the tax relief.
This means that the change has the potential to cause issues for those who may have based their expat financial planning in the Netherlands on the fact that they could claim the tax break for the full eight years.
Unsurprisingly, the announcement has been met with a backlash. DutchNews.nl reports that a petition has been set up on Change.org – titled International Professionals Against Retroactive Ruling – to urge the Dutch government to amend the rule change so that it only applies to future expats who move to the country after January 1, 2019.
Mike Arthur, who started the petition, believes that by making the five-year time limit retroactively apply to existing expats, it will negatively impact “thousands of expats in the Netherlands who have built their financial lives around the expectation that the Dutch government would honour the deal they offered us that brought us here in the first place”. At the time of writing, the petition has gained almost 12,000 signatures.
While it’s clear that the change to the Dutch tax break for expats is hardly welcome and many expats will be hoping the decision is reversed, if you know that the reduction to five years is going to affect you it’s probably a good time to prepare your finances the best you can.
Take action and plan ahead as early as possible – speaking to one of Blacktower’s financial advisers in the Netherlands is an effective way of making sure you do only what’s best for you and your money. So, if you’re at all concerned about how you may be affected by this news and would like to discuss your options with a professional, contact Blacktower today.