Commuter tax, mortgage tax relief plans postponed

Measures in the five-party austerity package to scrap the tax break on home-to-work travel and to limit mortgage tax relief have been postponed until after the September 12 election.

The finance ministry announced on Monday evening it would postpone ending the tax break on travel expenses until after the election because it needs more time to work out the details and to process the measure into law.
This followed comments from the union federations FNV and CNV that taxing people for travelling to and from work would hit ‘the hard workers who are prepared to travel for their jobs’.
Then on Tuesday, junior tax minister Frans Weekers told Radio 1 he would also delay introducing legislation to limit mortgage tax relief until after the election. The five-party coalition agreed to scrap the tax break for new non-repayment mortgages.
But this measure is also taking more time to organise, Weekers said.
The delay to both plans, part of a package aimed to raise €12bn, means neither may actually materialise in their present form.
The Volkskrant reported at the weekend that four parties involved in drawing up the measures have already distanced themselves from the commuter tax. And mortgage tax relief is likely to have a central role in election campaign and formation of a new government after the vote.
One-off levy
Meanwhile, Nos television reports the Council of State, the government’s most senior advisory body, is critical of plans to make employers pay a one-off levy of 16% on all incomes over €150,000.
The council said it is unclear why employers rather than staff should have to pay the tax, and there is no proper reasoning of why the €150,000 limit has been chosen.
The council also criticised the decision to tax excessive golden handshakes at 75%, saying it will not raise much cash.