Thousands of angry expats have signed up to a petition protest at the Dutch government’s decision to change the generous terms of a 30% tax ruling for international workers.
So far, 20,754 expats have put their names to the online campaign run by the International Professionals Against Retroactive Ruling (IPARR).
The petition complains that the government has withdrawn tax breaks for expats retrospectively, rather than just for new expats.
Currently, the ruling allows expats to earn 30% of their income tax-free for eight years.
In a surprise about turn, the government shortened the tax-free term to five years from January 2019.
“Instead of doing the rational thing and changing the policy for future expats, the change will be retroactive, negatively impacting thousands of expats in the Netherlands who have built their financial lives around the expectation that the Dutch government would honour the deal they offered us that brought us here in the first place,” says the IPARR.
“We respect the right for the Dutch Ministry of Finance to change policy based on what they feel is best for Dutch society, but by making the decision retroactive, many Dutch expats, some who have had children or purchased homes with their financial plans based on an eight-year 30% ruling, are now in an incredibly frustrating position.
“To make matters worse, when they changed the ruling in the past from 10 years to eight, those stuck in the middle were able to keep their 30% of earnings tax-free, so why is that not the case now?”
Call for fighting fund
IPARR and Facebook campaigners have launched an appeal to raise a 10,000 euro fighting fund to contest the decision.
The ruling means a worker earning 60,000 euros a year will face an extra tax bill of 8,000 euros.
Campaigners say one of the big issues is how home buyers who have based their mortgage around the 30% ruling tax break will meet their repayments after five years in the Netherlands.
“This is causing a lot of uncertainty, costing people thousands of euros and damaging the credibility of the government,” said one mortgage adviser.