30% ruling: changes for 2019


First an important side note: I translated this governmental article about the changes on the 30% ruling because I personally believe it’s important that the people whom it concerns, can also read this information which was only provided in Dutch by our government. And since the ruling is used by expats who often don’t speak Dutch (yet), this is not handy in my opinion. I’m not a certified translator who is allowed under Dutch law to translate legal documents like diplomas or birth certificates, nor was I officially asked to translate this article. So it’s a service from me to you and no rights can be obtained. Thank you! You find the original article in Dutch here on the website of the Dutch government. 


Employees from abroad do not have to pay tax on a maximum of 30% of their wages under certain conditions. The government wants these employees to only be able to use this 30% ruling for 5 a maximum of years. However, there will be a transitional arrangement for the coming 2 years.

Allowance for additional costs

The 30% facility is for employees who come from outside the Netherlands and come to work temporarily in the Netherlands. If they meet the conditions for the 30% ruling, they pay no tax on a maximum of 30% of their wages. This way, the government will meet the extra money they have to spend in order to be able to come to work in the Netherlands. For example extra travel costs and extra costs for housing and living.

Shorter term

The government wants to reduce the duration of the 30% ruling from a maximum of 8 to 5 years. This measure will take effect on 1 January 2019. This is stated in the Tax Plan 2019. For employees who will arrive in the Netherlands in 2019 or later, the tax benefit applies for a maximum of 5 years. Also employees who already have a decision from the tax authorities will have to deal with this shorter term. They must substract 3 years from the end date. The end date is stated in the decision paper (‘beschikking’) of the tax authorities (‘Belastingdienst’).

Transitional arrangement

For employees who would already no longer receive the tax benefit somewhere in 2019 or 2020 because of the shortening of the term, there will be a transitional arrangement. They are entitled to the 30% ruling until 31 December 2020 the latest.

With the end date on the decision of the tax authorities, it can be determined how long an employee can use the 30% ruling:

  • The end date on the decision (‘beschikking’) is in 2019 or 2020: nothing changes for this employee
  • The end date on the decision (‘beschikking’) is in 2021, 2022 or 2023: this employee pays no tax up to and including 31 December 2020 on a maximum of 30% of his salary
  • The end date on the decision (‘beschikking’) is in or after 2024: no transitional arrangement applies to these foreign employees. The end date on their ‘beschikking’ is shortened by 3 years

Why this shorter term

In 2017, the Ministry of Finance had the 30% ruling evaluated by an external research agency. The evaluation shows:

  • Approximately 80% of employees use the 30% tax ruling for 5 years or less. Of the remaining 20%, a large amount of people does not stay in the Netherlands temporary, but longer
  • In other countries with a similar scheme, this scheme often applies for 5 years
  • The extra costs the 30% ruling compensates for, will decrease over time.
  • The shorter 30% ruling is cheaper, while the goals of the ruling are achieved almost equally well
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