Tax break on ‘worthless qualifications’ costs €15m a year

The tax office has lost out on €15m in income through a tax break on ‘worthless qualifications’ paid for by employers, the education ministry confirmed at the weekend.

The Volkskrant reported on Saturday thousands of workers have ended up with worthless qualifications paid for by their employers with the help of a generous tax break.

However, the qualifications at least six regional training colleges institutions are not good enough to qualify for the cash, an education ministry spokesman confirmed.


Employers can get an effective discount of up to €2,700 on the cost of training staff to become a ‘qualified assistant’ or ‘logistics worker’, the Volkskrant reported.

But many of the courses are worthless, the paper said. In other cases, employers conspired to benefit from the tax break by taking advantage of ‘free courses’ offered by some private institutions.

In one case, staffing agency Van Koppen en Van Eijk in The Hague has been ordered to repay €4m received for training Polish nationals who work in greenhouses, to be ‘assistant plant experts’, the Volkskrant said.


The Volkskrant, which headlined its expose ‘fake diplomas for Poles cost tax office millions’ said thousands of Polish workers, people with a mental or physical handicap and drivers had been given useless certificates.

The scheme making the tax break possible, is being scrapped from January next year. The aim of the scheme had been to improve standards in the Dutch workforce.

MPs from the anti-immigration PVV have asked ministers to make a statement on the claims.

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