#ADealIsADeal: What’s going on with the 30% ruling for expats?

30% ruling for expats

Barely one month in, the lack of a transition plan related to a proposed reduction in the 30% tax ruling to five years (from eight, or ten, if applicable to some) has managed to galvanize quickly and loudly a large population of expats in the Netherlands. An estimated 60,000 expats living in the Netherlands are affected by this ruling. Other DutchReviewers previously described why some people are quite angry about it and why the retroactive nature of the ruling is unfair.

#AfspraakIsAfspraak & #ADealIsADeal

The running message is “Afspraak is afspraak,” or “A Deal is a Deal,” — a phrase said by Prime Minister Mark Rutte only in March of this year in an address on the future of the European Union.

30% ruling for expats
From the United Expats of the Netherlands Facebook page.

More than 30,000 signatures have been collected on an online petition against the proposed change in the 30% tax ruling, which if adopted would take effect on January 1, 2019. According to data collected by a convenience survey by the International Community Advisory Panel from 4,500 expats, about 12% of beneficiaries work for a university and 46% for a Dutch company.

United Expats Stand

Over 6,500 members, many expats, have united on a Facebook group, the United Expats of the Netherlands, a self-organized grassroots group that crowdfunded more than €10,000 to support its advocacy efforts, produced media materials including an on-point video with testimonials to hammer home the group’s stance and even a snazzy logo, and an in-person protest on May 29th in The Hague. The protest was paired with handing over the petition to Dutch Minister of Finance and testimonial provided at the finance committee from expats who would be severely affected by the ruling. (Ironically, the number of protesters was way below the actual number of expats affected because many affected were working at the time.)

30% ruling for expats
#ADealIsADeal Protest at The Hague on May 29th. Source: Twitter feed of the United Expats of the Netherlands @nl_expats https://twitter.com/nl_expats

All of these activities were planned efficiently and purposely on the cusp of the May 31st debate in Dutch Parliament’s finance committee on this prickly issue. Members have also successfully engaged their employers, including Dutch businesses, universities, and municipal representatives in the effort. The American Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands and the German Chamber have also submitted statements of concern about the ruling’s absence of a transition plan. Members of the United Expats of the Netherlands have also contacted their respective embassies as well.

Standing Together

As a university employee, I was heartened to receive timely updates from my employer. In fact, the most recent notice indicated that a several academic organizations recently submitted a letter to the Minister of Finance (full letter here, in Dutch) expressing “their concerns about the proposed and abrupt restriction of the rule,” co-signed by the following organizations, along with the United Expats of the Netherlands:

30% ruling for expats
Letter from a whole bunch of academic, scientific and university organizations against the proposed change without transition for the 30% ruling.

The Verdict

What comes next? Results from the May 31st debate in the finance committee and then the announcements on Prinsjesdag (September 18th) that would include finalising the ruling either as is or with revision to account for all of the protests, petitions, and letters to date.

What do think about the proposed changes? Will they affect you? Let us know in the comments! 

Tiffany Leung
Tiffany Leung
An American born and raised, Tiffany is fulfilling a lifelong dream as an expat in one of the happiest countries in the world. Learning Dutch hard and fast, she greatly admires Dutch culture and sensibility, but is also wondering whether she could ever one day also master the Mestreechs dialect.



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