Young foreign footballer fails to qualify for expat 30% tax ruling

Talent alone is not enough to qualify foreign footballers in the Netherlands for the 30% expat tax ruling, a court in Den Bosch ruled on Thursday.

The city’s appeal court said a Belgian footballer cannot be considered for the ruling because he is not covered by the ‘scarce expertise’ clause, which is one of the primary requirements to qualify, the Financieele Dagblad said. The case dates back to 2005.

The 30% ruling was developed for foreign staff with specific expertise to compensate them for the extra expenses they face working in the Netherlands. Dutch nationals who have spent a long time working abroad may also qualify if they return to the Netherlands.


This case concerns an 18-year-old Belgian who began playing for a Dutch premier league side in 2005.

His application for the ruling was turned down because the tax office said he did not have enough work experience to qualify, despite having had 23 caps for the Belgian national youth team and turning out for a top Belgian club.

The eligibility rules for the tax break, which effectively means expats only pay income tax on 70% of their income, were tightened up at the beginning of last year.


The changes were introduced because of finance ministry concerns the ruling was being exploited. It can be claimed for up to eight years

In order to qualify, expats must now have lived at least 150 kilometres from the Dutch border before moving to the Netherlands.

They should also have a Dutch salary of at least €52,000 if over the age of 30 and have specific skills not available in the Netherlands. Different salary requirements apply to academics.

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