Freelance workers to fill government coffers

The government is setting its sights on the tax advantages enjoyed by freelancers (zzp’ers) and their clients to fill its budget deficit, according to the Financieele Dagblad.

‘The situation is out of hand,’ a source told the FD. ‘The treasury is missing out on tax income while many of these people do not want to be freelance.’

At the moment, the system encourages employers to sack workers and replace them with zzp’ers, saving around 30% in wage costs, the paper quotes government sources as saying.

Employers also save on overheads and benefit from the flexibility of sacking workers without having to pay redundancy money.

Tax breaks

For someone in employment and earning €20,000 a year, it can be financially attractive to become a zzp’er, with tax breaks saving them thousands of euros a year. In addition, as a zzp’er they are often eligible for housing and healthcare benefits.

According to the FD’s calculations, someone earning €20,000 could save an annual total of €7,000 by becoming a freelancer.

The government is now planning to correct this discrepancy by increasing the tax burden on zzp’ers. The plan is to raise the income tax on these 800,000 workers by a total €0.5bn in 2015.