Uproar against a Dutch government decision to axe a generous tax break for expats is growing.
The government wants to cut a tax benefit that reduces expat income tax by 30% for eight years to five years amid howls of protests.
In the past week, expats have presented a 31,000 signature petition against the cut to the country’s Parliament, while some MPs and the biggest trade union in the Netherlands are backing the campaign.
Protesters want the government to include a transition period in their plans, saying they have based their financial plans on the tax break.
Many claim mortgages on their homes will become unaffordable because their income will fall under the measure.
Industry support for campaign
They are demanding the government keeps the tax break for expats already living in the Netherlands, to ease their plight, while applying the new rules to expats who come to the country from January 1.
Universities and businesses that depend on skilled expat labour have joined the protests.
Chip machinery manufacturer ASML claims 600 expat workers will be affected by the tax cut.
Many firms and universities argue that not enough people train in technology to cover the jobs gap the 30% ruling decision is likely to leave. They point out only 20% of youngsters move into technology training when the country needs double that number.
Trade union FNV is calling for a ‘decent transition’.
“Without a transition period, current expats are the victims,” said deputy chairman Tuur Elsinga. “Employers have been able to benefit from the advantages of tax equalisation, but scrapping this ruling means current workers will be left with the disadvantages.”
The government will discuss the 30% tax ruling changes behind closed doors again this week.
Some MPs are against a transition, while others feel employers should increase salaries to help expats who may suffer financial problems because of the ruling.
A few are in favour of a transition period.
Expats have also raised a 10,000 euro fighting fund with the intention of taking the matter before the courts for a judicial review.
The 30% rule term was cut from 10 years to eight years some time ago. Then, the government allowed a transition period.
The ruling allows employers to offer skilled expats a 30% tax-free allowance against a minimum gross salary 53,280 euros.