Commuters hard hit by austerity package, students benefit

Commuters whose employers pay their expenses for travelling to and from work will lose hundreds of euros a year when the benefit is taxed from next year, according to media reports on Friday.

The decision to tax payments made by employers to commuters is contained in the five-party package of austerity measures which will be sent to parliament. Employers can currently pay untaxed expenses of 19 cents a kilometre or buy staff rail or bus cards.
Most of the measures have already been leaked, but details of how the tax on commuting will pan out are new.
€250 a year
The changes mean people on incomes of below €33,000 a year will lose one-third of their commuting expenses while the better off will lose half. Dutch Rail says it fears the change will cost train travellers an average of €100 a month.
However, someone travelling first class on a daily basis between Amsterdam and The Hague will be €250 worse off, the NS calculates.
But there is good news for students. Plans to scrap grants for students taking a masters degree have been reversed.