* Editors note: if you’re reading the title and panicked instantly, don’t worry yet. The deadline for your tax return is set at the 1st of May. (If you’re reading this at the 30th of April: PANIC!)

 

Back in the old days I was probably just like you. Two times per year I suffered half a heart attack. The first short (but intense!) attack occurred when this bad boy hits the doormat:

filing your taxes in the Netherlands
Due to the blessings of digitalization we will not see these blue boys forever, but its legacy will haunt people for years to come

The dreaded blue envelope is the calling sign for all chaotic people to get their act together, sort through their shoe boxes of receipts and hand in their tax report a good week before the deadline of the 1st of May (its a new one date, that Dutch colleague that keeps telling it’s the 1st of April still lives in 2012). Obviously I always had my administration in good order and hand in my  no clue until it’s 24h before the deadline, literally spending my last hours of April cursing myself and handing in a tax return that isn’t as good for my financial situation as it could have been. Just like Homer here:

Anyways, I’m on the right fiscal track now! Join me on this track with these four tips for doing your taxes in the Netherlands:

Deduct your study costs!

In the Netherlands there is a variety of personal deductions applicable to the annual income tax return (aangifte inkomstenbelasting – but trying to pronounce that a non-native Dutch speaker is hazardous ). One of these deductions is for study costs so finally something about all that studying pays off! The interpretation of ‘Study costs’ can be quite broadly and can vary from a ‘MBO- study’ to a PHD, basically anything that will allow you to obtain a better position on the labour market (sadly, language courses aren’t applicable). You can deduct the tuition fee, but also the costs for educational material like a laptop and all those pens and books. It’s a personal deduction, but can be transferred to your tax partner (most of the time your partner) and there are thresholds: 250 euro’s minimum and 15K maximum.

In Holland, the house pays your bills

 Alright, not exactly you still need to pay that mortgage. But you can deduct the interest you pay on the mortage for your house (the primary house, can’t go around shopping for houses and deduct all of that interest). The Dutch word for this fiscal wonder of the world is ‘hypotheekrenteaftrek‘, making it also a killer word for Dutch Scrabble. In addition, you can claim back tax on what you paid to the bank, the ‘notaris’, the taxation and the possible request for the NHG if you bought a house in 2015.

hypotheek rente aftrek
You can also deduct mortgage interest after you emigrate to another country or when you leave the place vacant for when you want to return. Thereby truly making the fiscal sides of house owning a rollercoasterride.

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Finally, your kids can help pay for something

We already wrote on how child friendly the Netherlands can be, and this fact also applies to the tax department. Because when it comes to paying for childcare, you can get help from the government in the form of an allowance. Strictly taken it’s not a item linked directly to your income tax return D-day of 30th of April, but the height of the allowance you’re entitled to is connected to your income. Also be aware, the allowance is money upfront – in the case that it turns out that you made way more money or your kids went fewer hours to daycare than expected you might have to pay back (a part) of that allowance. Sounds complex? There are parties out there who can help you out with all of this.

tax-day-2016 meme

 

Let someone else do all of this!

So lots of possible deductions, complex systems and huge potential financial wins when done right. But also ahead, a long boring stretch of administrative tasks with a foreign tax system. Wouldn’t it be perfect if someone else could take care of all of this for you? Well it’s your lucky day!  Companies like Blue Umbrella can totally handle everything for you regarding this tax return, making sure you get all the financial windfalls but none of the administrative slur. They process all types of Dutch income tax return filings for a flat fee of 125 euro’s. There are a lot expensive consultants out there, but your personal tax situation is never really that complicated according to Martin of Blue Umbrella:

You do not need to be an tax expert to benefit from the tax incentives, it is a matter of answering the right questions that apply to you and filling in the appropriate manner and timely to the authorities. Every individual thinks their personal situation is unique and special, but when you think about it that would be impossible. No way the tax authorities can process these millions of “unique”declarations. It a simple matter of checking boxes that apply to you and the only thing that makes your tax declaration unique is the number in the field after the box and the amount you get back or owe to the authorities. This why we can do this for everybody online at a flat fee, no matter how “complex” 🙂

 

So that’s it! Good luck all with filing your taxes in the Netherlands!

Any golden tips? Feel free to share them in the comments!

 

 

3 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Dmitry, I understand what you mean about the enormous fees they ask. We at Tax & Service Solutions charge the same fees Dutch people would pay for a tax declaration and you know what? We help a lot of people in a correct way by saving money and time for them. Not everybody is able to fill out these forms and know all about special regulations. But feel free to do it yourself and save money. More info? https://www.tssolutions.nl

  2. […] Procter & Gamble is in excellent company however, Queen Elizabeth has also stored money there, as has Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton, Apple, Nike and Uber. Many of them with the help of Holland, because who cares about the big fish paying their share if you can squeeze out the little fish with much less effort? Thanks, Belastingdienst! Looking forward to that next blue envelope! […]

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