Tax Plan 2018: What will really change in 2018?

Dutch tax accountant

On Queen’s Speech, ‘Prinsjesdag’ in Dutch, the new Dutch cabinet Rutte III pronounced its ambitious Tax Plan 2018. Over the last months, the Tax Plan instigated many discussions and far more confusion. Here, you may find an overview of the actual fiscal changes that will go into effect at January 1, 2018. Yet, precaution is advised, since the final ruling of the First Chamber takes place on December 19. Until then, the proposed decrees may still be adapted.

Personal Income Tax

Box 1 In 2018, the different tax levies will be based on two instead of three brackets. The first bracket levies 36,93% over income up to EUR 68.600. Income surpassing that threshold is subject to the second bracket, which applies a 49,5% tax rate.

Box 2 For box 2, the tax rate will gradually increase. The fiscal years 2018 and 2019 thus come with a rate of 25%. By 2020, tax authorities apply a 27,3% rate. This will subsequently amount to 28,5% in 2021.

Box 3 On contrary, for the return on equity, the Dutch tax authorities will apply a lower tax rate. However, by how much it will be decrease, remains yet to be seen.

In addition, the maximum general tax reduction over the balance becomes EUR 2.265 instead of EUR 2.254.

Energy investment relief Instead of 55%, entrepreneurs with investments included in the Energy list may only deduct 54,5% of their investment from the profit. In order to apply this deduction, entrepreneurs should first submit a request to the RVO, though.

Wage tax

Non-executive directors Starting January 1, 2018, the fictitious employment no longer apply to non-executive directors of listed companies. Motivating the annulment is the government’s aim to provide both non-executive as well as supervisory directors with one and the same regime, since the fictitious employment was already annulled for the latter in 2017.

Excessive severance allowance In the future, the only unconditionally granted rights to share options won’t be included in the calculation of the excessive severance allowance. However, they those rights will be included if they became unconditionally a year before the end of the employee’s term.

Volunteers allowance Volunteers allowances will be free of taxes for amounts up to EUR 1.700 instead of the previous threshold of EUR 1.500.


Corporate Income Tax

Corporate Income Tax Rate In contrast to the rate of personal income taxes, the Dutch government will gradually lower the rate of corporate income taxes. The initial 25%-rate will still be in effect during 2018. It drops down, though, to 24% at the start of 2019. The rate further decreases to 22,5% for 2020. This reduction will finally stagnate in 2021 at a rate of 32%. For the rate over taxable profit under the EUR 200.000, a similar reduction applies. Tax authorities will levy 19%, instead of the previous 20%, over the profit in 2019. A year later, that rate will be 17,5% before being lowered to 16% in 2021. The EUR 200.000 threshold, however, will remain the same.

Innovation Box rate

Profit resulting from innovative business activities will be subject to a levy of 7% instead of 5%.

Relief on donations

The ruling concerning the potential relief on donations to cultural enterprises will remain in effect during 2018. Only after the final ruling of Rutte III in 2019, the ruling may be annulled.

Double business motive test for arm’s length principle

A company in debt to a another company within it’s fiscal unity, should prove that debt was indeed caused by business activities, instead of maleficent purposes, in case the debt concerns a loan obtained from a third party. The company in question will have to verify the arm’s length of the debt by the so called double business motive test.

Written-down debts and the liquidation loss regulation

When a body that is or was part of a fiscal unity holds a debt, the write-down loss on that debt will no longer be deducted from the profit. The annulment of the deduction only concerns losses attributed to another company within the same fiscal unity.

In case the debtor is subsequently liquidated, the fiscal unity is entitled to a compensation for the loss in profit. To assess that loss, Dutch tax authorities do take the written-down losses of the debt into account. In order to avoid a double loss recognition, the deduction of the write-down loss only applies to those losses for which a receivable from the debtor has not been consolidated into the fiscal unity. In addition, the capital of the liquidated body is also accounted for in the assessment of the loss. This capital is based on the actual value of the body if this value is less than the body’s fiscal power.

Full exemption regulation for foreign business profits

In the future, foreign bodies will no longer be subject to the corporate income tax obligation in the Netherlands, and thus only filing corporate income tax in the head office’ country of residence. As to exclude artificial transactions or constructions, the foreign enterprise should be in possession of a substantial share in a Dutch corporation. Second, the exemption concerns internal user fees. Hence, the thereby avoided income tax should fall under dividend tax.

Country-by-country reporting

For multinational with group entities in the Netherlands, the ultimate parent company may submit the country report to local tax authorities of its country of residence. They will in its turn send the report to the Dutch tax authorities.


Dividend withholding tax

More than all other proposals, the alleged abolishment of the dividend withholding tax made a wave in the Netherlands. An important date to remember, is December 19, 2017, when the final ruling of the First Chamber should take place. Only after approval of the First Chamber, the adjustments to the withholding tax obligation and exemption proposed by the current government will go into effect. Hence, the withholding tax itself will not be discarded yet.

However, the abolishment of the withholding tax is still possible, since it is indeed a bill in the coalition agreement by the new government Rutte III. Therefore, Rutte III may only start its negotiations regarding the bill in 2018. If the government comes to an agreement, the dividend withholding tax will not be abolished before 2019.

Dividend withholding tax obligation

Starting 2018, Dutch holding corporations will be obligated to dividend withholding taxes when at least 70% of the activities they performed in the past years were holding activities and they are in the possession of qualifying membership rights. Together with the rights of other connected members, these entitle the holder to 5% of the annual profit or to repayments in case of liquidation. The revenue of these freely tradable membership rights include the interest on deposits, distributions of profits and remunerations for the holding corporation’s capital provided by its members.

In addition, when in possession of membership rights comparable to the capital divided into shares, the withholding obligation is also imposed on non-holding corporations.

Finally, the coalition agreement maintains the withholding obligation for the profit of fiscal investments enterprises if they pay (part of) their profit out to exempt bodies. Such enterprises will be able to request a recovery of the withheld tax. Yet, the government still has to rule in favour of this bill. The date of the ruling has not been set, though.

Dividend withholding exemption

In contrary, a withholding exemption is planned to go into effect on January 1, 2018 for companies in third countries. However, the exemption only applies when the third country has entered into an agreement with the Netherlands that concerns dividend withholding tax. In addition, the residence country of the (physical) body entitled to the profit should meet additional conditions.

Hybrid entities

In the future, hybrid entities are exempt from withholding tax on their profits as well. It still remains to be seen whether or not hybrid entities settled in third countries will be exempt as well.

In accordance with the anti-abuse ruling, Dutch tax authorities will verify whether corporations obligated to dividend withholding tax do apply the exemption when paying out dividends to the entitled foreign bodies. If that is indeed the case, they will request the corporations to justify their actions within a set timeframe. After this deadline, corporations might face a default penalty, amounting to no less than EUR 5.278.

Furthermore, Rutte III aims to avoid future tax avoidance and abuse by imposing substance requirements on intermediary holdings. They should account for sufficient labor costs and utilize their own office space. When a holding does not meet these conditions, it will be regarded as an artificial construction set up to avoid taxes In the Netherlands. Such artificial constructions and transactions will therefore not be exempt from the dividend withholding tax, as mentioned before.


Value-added tax (sales tax or turnover tax)

Medicinal products

The Dutch government now confines the medicines for which it previously lowered the VAT-rate. Starting January 1, this 6%-rate applies solely to those products that meet the marketing authorization or exemptions stipulated in the Pharmaceutical Act.

Joint and several liability

Tax Plan 2018 imposes the joint and several liability on executants and holders of a property of mortgage when they claim VAT for the delivery of a pledged, mortgaged or confiscated businesses.

Seagoing vessels

In the future, the zero-rate for deliveries and supplying applies to vessels navigating on the high seas for at least 90% of their business activities. In addition, the zero-rate will apply to services to such commercial vessels as well. Whether or not that is also the case for vessels which spend no less than 70% of their time on the high seas, remains yet to be seen.


The Tax Plan includes less fortunate news for the agricultural sector. Under the Plan, farmers, foresters and gardeners have to pay VAT over the services and goods they provide. Moreover, the VAT-rate for several products mainly intended for the agriculture will increase. Yet, the Dutch government meets the sector halfway by granting them the right to reclaim (part of) the VAT they spend.


Environmental tax

Landfilling and/or incineration of waste

The incineration and landfilling of waste will be levied more severely, no matter where the Dutch waste is managed. Dutch tax authorities will thus levy taxes on export of waste produced in the Netherlands as well. Furthermore, the government proposes to abolish the exemption concerning sewage sludge and biomass plants. It is uncertain, though, when these measures go into effect, since the preparations for their implementation are planned for mid-2018.

Energy tax

A more severe regime is also the case for energy taxes. During the following two years, both businesses and households will be subject to a higher tax rate on natural gas. Electricity, on the other hand, will be met with a lower tax rate in order to promote renewable energy. Second, the government expands the district heating ruling to installations running on biomass and geothermal energy. The third and last adjustment concerns energy-intensive businesses. If their commercial use transgresses the – yet to be determined – threshold, they will be entitled to a refund without having to meet new individual saving agreements.


Taxes on gifts and inheritance

Tax assessment period

Filing taxes on a gift is due after the calendar year in which the gift was done has come to an end. If, however, the taxes are filed no less than four months since the end of that year, the tax assessment period starts the day after filing. Hence, it is wise to declare gifts within the four month period, in order to avoid uncertainty about the tax assessment.

Besides the usual taxes, Dutch tax authorities may also levy a conservational tax assessment on gifts and inheritance from, among others, corporate capital. In addition, to increase different tax assessments, claim assessments might be the case. Lowering such assessments is possible, though, by issuing an objection.


Vehicle tax

Private cars and motor vehicles

From January 1, the publicly declared price of cars will serve as their listed price on which the addition of cars in wage- and income taxes is based. Furthermore, the specific amortisation scale for private cars and motor vehicles will be abolished for several motor vehicles.

Thirdly, when using a motor vehicle on the road, although prohibited by law, an after-tax will be enforced from the moment you interfered with the law.

Delivery vans

Entrepreneurs will still be subject to taxes on delivery vans in case the so called ‘BPM’-exemption expires before the end of 2022. If that is indeed the case, the calculation of the outstanding taxes is similar to the one of used delivery vans.

Final mass

Tax authorities will define the mass of vehicles in 2018 and onwards in the same way D.M.V. does. Hence, the rate thresholds will be increased by 100 kg.

Provincial Surcharge

The government proposes several adaptions to the current calculation of provincial surcharges in order to clarify their application.

Fees and collections

Voluntary disclosure scheme

The voluntary disclosure scheme will no longer be in effect in 2018. That is the case for both direct taxes and surcharges as well as their penal counterparts. For some voluntary corrections, Dutch tax authorities might even issue default or criminal offence penalties. A transitional arrangement will facilitate the adaptation of these new decrees.

Anti-abuse ruling

The State Secretary must provide third countries with the necessary common Reporting Standard-information. In order to verify this information, the government grants the State Secretary access to Anti-abuse information. In gathering and disseminating this information, all EU members follow the EU-ruling.

Fiscal objection

As to avoid the improper use of objections to the execution of a warrant, in order to stall paying taxes, the government no longer enables such objections to suspense the warrant or taxes in question.

Main proceedings

The disclosure obligation applies to the (potential) requalification of main proceedings concerning tax debts drawing on main proceedings of third parties. This anti-abuse measure aims to cross the IRS’ privilege or jus soli.


Other measures

Law on registration

In the future, it will be possible to provide a will electronically without a stamp if these wills may already be found in the depository if the Royal Notarial Guild. This facilitates the tax authorities’ access to wills and similar documents.

Authorities of the tax inspector

Besides places relevant to excise tax, the tax inspector will be entitled to search all other grounds, spaces and buildings, except private residences.

Tax on tobacco

Aiming to improve the health of the Netherlands’ population, the government raises the taxes on tobacco starting January 1, 2018

Highly Skilled Migrants 2018: New salary thresholds applicable

The new 2018 salary thresholds for foreign employees- e.g. Highly Skilled Migrants, Graduates, Blue Card holders- have been announced. These amounts are applicable for new applications for local hires, assignees (when outside the scope of the EU ICT Directive 2014/66/EU) or extension applications, received by the Immigration Authorities (IND) on or after 1 January 2018:

  • The monthly gross salary threshold for applicants of 30 years and older is currently set at EUR 4.324, – excluding holiday allowance, and will be indexed to EUR 4.404, –;
  • The monthly gross salary threshold for applicants younger than 30 years is currently set at EUR 3.170, – excluding holiday allowance, and will be indexed to EUR 3.229, –;
  • The monthly gross salary threshold for graduates from a higher Dutch educational institution, or from an international educational institution listed in the top 200 of one of the ranking lists, taking up employment within three years after graduation is currently set at EUR 2272, – excluding holiday allowance, and will be indexed to EUR 2.314, –;
  • The monthly gross salary threshold for Blue Card applications is currently set at EUR 5.066, – excluding holiday allowance, and will be indexed to EUR 5.160, -.

As a reminder, all amounts are calculated on a monthly gross basis, excluding holiday allowance, and will need to be received directly on the bank account of the individual. Allowances / benefits can only be included provided that the following cumulative requirements are met: specified, fixed/ guaranteed, paid structural on a monthly basis, in money (not in kind) and in gross/ taxable (not in net).

Please feel free to contact the EMG team in case of questions or comments in this respect via  or via one of your EMG contact persons directly.

Brexit status report

DBi made a contribution to the Brexit report of Digital Gateway to Europe. The report is a status report on the impact of Brexit for the tech industry.​




Our relocator, Miriam van Kempen, has written a nice piece about the do’s and don’ts of the Amsterdam housing markets. For people moving to Amsterdam this piece is a must read! Read it below.

The housing market in Amsterdam is a disaster

So. I said it. And you all knew this before reading this blog. Prices are high, there is no room to negotiate, you’re one lucky camper if you find something within your budget.
A lot of expats start their search on sites like Pararius and Funda. Nice, but not always very realistic. Agents leave the properties online, even if they’re already rented out. Unreliable agents place non existing apartments online to lure you to their websites and to show you the rest of their portfolio. Also, apartments come online after they’ve been offered to the colleague agents, meaning that the real estate agents already had the chance to arrange viewings at the apartment. Hence: as soon as an apartments appears online, in most cases you’re already too late.


If you are looking for a semi-furnished or furnished apartment in Amsterdam, you will need to think about a budget of 1500 EUR excluding utilities. Bare (or ‘shell’) apartments might be a bit cheaper, but usually come without fitted kitchen, flooring and curtains. Most of the times, these kind of apartments are offered by big real estate companies. These companies demand that you register and will place you on a waiting list, together with a lot of other hopeful, but somewhat naive candidates. Therefore, this is not a feasible option for people who are looking for a home on a short notice. Most of these companies also don’t accept a diplomatic clause for you as a tenant.
*Diplomatic clause: this clause in the contract will give the tenant the possibility to cancel the rental contract within the initial rental period, if his / her job either relocates more than 50km or ends because of resignation (on own or employer’s initiative).


A lot of you might have considered sharing an apartment with friends. The idea sounds great: a group of friends, moving to the wonderful city of Amsterdam, going on a new adventure, then why not share the costs by sharing an apartment? In other cities, like Haarlem, The Hague or Hilversum, this would be a great solution. GREAT! But, as arrogant like only the city of Amsterdam can be, the bad news is that in Amsterdam, this is not possible anymore.
From the first of January this year, Amsterdam has implemented a new law: the so called “Woningdelen-wet.” This law prohibits landlords, home owners and real estate agents to set up rental contracts for more than two (adult) people. If you would like to lease an apartment or house with more than one friend, for instance with the group of friends you’ve met during college, or the wonderful three girls you’ve met during your vacation in Spain (not a great idea for starters, but still…), there are two ways to share a home, and only one of them applies to you, as a tenant.
1. By way of room rental (which can only be done by the owner of the house)
2. Through legal sub-letting and accommodation (also known as “having a boarder”, a ‘kostganger’ in Dutch).
Both types of housing must meet a number of conditions.

Room-like rental

In case of a room-like rental, a house needs to have at least three independent living spaces (a shared kitchen, shared living room and shared bathroom, for instance). For the home owner to rent out a property like this, a license is required, which is granted if a number of conditions are met.
The most important conditions are:
a. There must be a common living space;
b. The rooms must meet sound insulation requirements.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Sometimes an environmental permit must be requested in addition to the above conditions as a result of the destination plan. For example, if the destination plan states that only one household may live at the address.
Since I don’t think that you are planning to purchase an apartment in order to rent out the rooms to your friends, let’s focus on the second option: sub-letting and accommodation.

Sub-letting and accommodation

An ancient form of housing is a form of sub-letting: a resident rents out a part of his or her home to another household (being the third adult in the house). That occupant can be the owner of the property or a tenant, that doesn’t matter. It is however important that the landlord or main tenant (which might be you) himself has his main residence in the house and occupies at least half of the property itself. Sounds easy for now, doesn’t it? So, if you are the main occupant, this may be a good option! Hold that thought. Then there is this part about your own rental agreement. If your rental agreement doesn’t state anything about sub-letting being prohibited, then we’re still in the game. But, and I’m not happy to say this, contracts do in 95% of the cases. And there we have the first reason why sharing in Amsterdam is not an easy thing to do.

Tax rules

For me, this part of the deal would be the most unattractive one. Partly because the Tax Office scares me a bit (their blue envelopes bring me nightmares).

· A private landlord (you) pays no income tax to a certain limit. De Belastingdienst (Dutch Tax Office) fixes this room rental allowance annually. In 2017, the room rental exemption is € 5,164. In 2016 it was € 5,069. This means, that for 2017, you can ask your sharer to pay a part of the rent up to € 436,- per month, without needing to pay taxes for this.
· BUT: If you ask your friend to pay more than € 436,- per month, for instance because you rent a three bedroom house for € 3000,- per month, then things get ugly. Because, in that case, the € 1000,- per month counts as extra income for you, on top of your salary. And in the Netherlands, you pay taxes for EVERYTING. For using the roads, flushing your toilet, letting the garbage disposal people pick up your trash, and for making money.


Sharing. Normally, sharing is caring. But in Amsterdam, sharing is crying. And losing money. Don’t do it.


Competitive Economies of the world

The Netherlands maintains its position on the fourth place of the list of most competitive economies of the world.

According to the World Economic Forum the Netherlands maintains its position with the support of a strong education system and high levels of tech readiness among businesses and individuals. Its thriving innovation ecosystem, ranked 6th globally, puts the Netherlands in an excellent position to shape the unfolding Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Read more here.

Brexit, an update

Financial implications and transition period

As for the Brexit, tomorrow will be an exciting day.  The British Prime Minister May will hold a long-awaited speech on the financial implications for EU member states. Furthermore, there is expected more certainty about the transition period.


Based on the now-known data, DBi gives an overview of fields which are important for companies to leave the UK and move to the European mainland.

Regarding employment It is now mistakenly thought that leaving the EU will not make much difference to the UK, but work- and residence permits will certainly be the case. Of course, it is likely that people from the UK won’t need a visa. They will therefore be able to enter the Netherlands without a visa. There is a chance that a simple and rapid immigration procedure will apply.

In the area of relocation, there will be little change unless many companies and expats decide to move from the UK to the Netherlands. The more demand, the higher the prices, the longer the waiting lists, and so on. At the moment, few people from the UK are hired in the Netherlands, our experience is. Of course, this number may grow if the UK becomes less attractive as a home country.

From a legal point of view, there also some developments taking place. In the proposed bill, The Great Repeal Bill, is stated that all European laws are initially transposed into British laws. At a later stage it will be seen which ones are maintained and which ones are not. This could be of great importance for employment law because this legislation is based mainly on European law.
Now it is necessary to clarify how British courts after the Brexit should deal with the rulings of the European Court. Clear rules are not yet available. It seems that the British judges may continue to use the decrees of the European Court if they consider “it is appropriate”, but this criterion will lead to legal uncertainty.

Regarding tax the future is also uncertain. Certain is that the Brexit will affect a lot of fields of taxation. You can think of VAT & Customs regulations, corporate income tax and withholding tax.

Regarding all above we think that most companies will carefully balance the expected benefits of the mainland against staying in the UK. The most important factors on which this decision is based will be the development in the areas of tax, legal certainty and employment.

Tax news

Dutch tax accountant

Expansion of the dividend tax exemption and broadening dividend tax base to include holding cooperatives

Great News! The draft bill concerning the Dutch withholding tax obligation for holding cooperatives and the expansion of the withholding tax exemption contains several decrees that both tightens and broadens the Dutch dividend tax exemption has been sent to parliament. It provides for relief from double taxation in genuine corporate structures.

This legislation makes the Netherlands more attractive for corporate structures.

Dutch dividend withholding tax exemption

The Dutch dividend tax will, as from January 1st, 2018, include a Dutch dividend withholding tax exemption. Not only the distributions made by Dutch private limited liability companies or public limited companies, but also holding cooperatives who made distributions to parent companies in the European Economic Area or other countries in possessing of a (dividend article in the) tax treaty with the Netherlands, will be entitled to the exemption. Since the Dutch withholding dividend tax exemption is subject to the anti – abuse rule concerning Dutch cooperative and dividend taxes, the latter will be broadened, but strengthened as well, by expanding the exemption scope. However, an exemption applies for qualifying shareholders located in countries with which the Netherlands has a tax treaty with a dividend article. This exemption is welcomed.

The only drawback is the complex Dutch anti-abuse legislation. Genuine corporate structures are not regarded to be abusive, but a subjective and objective anti abuse legislation, the inclusion of relevant substance, would make for a tough analysis and would provide enough content for a nice new blog.

Withholding tax obligation of holding cooperatives

When a company in a treaty jurisdiction would like to open shop in the Netherlands, and the tax treaty allows for dividend tax in the source state, Dutch dividend tax was due. Situations which are most common are with Canada, USA if LOB is not met. In this situation a Dutch cooperative was a solution as it was not subject to Dutch dividend tax.

Everyone with the legal right to profits of shares in, dividends of and hybrid loans to private limited liability companies (BV) and/or public limited companies (NV) seated in the Netherlands, is subject to Dutch dividend tax, unless an exemption applies. The bill now wishes to include the members of Dutch holding cooperatives in possession of qualifying membership rights to also be subject Dutch dividend tax. For shareholders in tax treaty jurisdictions, this has no effect. For shareholders in countries with which the Netherlands does not have a tax treaty, there is still an option to set-up a PE and allocate the shares in the subsidiary to the PE. This is expensive but tried and tested.

Residential Construction Sector

The construction industry is to grow further in 2017 and 2018. The Dutch bank ABN AMRO expects a growth in construction of 4.5 percent. This growth will be lower than in 2016. ABN AMRO also stressed that the construction in 2017 and 2018 will also grow in other segments than housing. This is because the growth in housing somewhat slows down whereas other industries will grow faster. As a result of this, the growth will be present in the whole construction sector.

Dutch House for whistleblowers Act

Legal protection for whistleblowers

On 1 July 2016, the Dutch House for whistleblowers Act (the Act; Wet Huis voor klokkenluiders) has entered into force. The Act has two main purposes: it provides legal protection for whistleblowers and contributes to the solution of social wrongs.

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Clean Energy: how innovative thermal power can enable a low-carbon energy transition

On Monday 23 January 2017, EPPSA held its annual Technology Evening at the Residence Palace in Brussels, with the theme “Clean Energy for All Europeans Package: how innovative thermal power can enable a low-carbon energy transition”. The event welcomed 110 participants from EU institutions and stakeholders from industry, NGOs and media.

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