The government will not be introducing a transition period for people who expected to claim the 30% tax ruling for eight years and now find it slashed to five, a finance ministry spokeswoman said on Wednesday.
The decision to cut the tax break’s duration by three years will be included in the 2019 spending plans published in September but has been announced now so people can take the impact into account, the spokeswoman said.
In addition, the measure was included in last year’s coalition agreement, the spokeswoman said.
Some 4,100 people have already signed a petition urging the government to rethink the plan, which will cost some families thousands of euros a year while hundreds have joined a campaign Facebook page.
‘With the new regulation I’ve got 2 1/2 years left to find and buy a house because private housing rental is unaffordable in Amsterdam without the tax benefit,’ one expat who signed the petition said.
‘With this increased pressure and the already terrible housing market, there is a very good chance that I will simply decide to move to a country where I don’t have to buy a house in such short time and where private sector rentals are affordable without tax benefits.’
Another expat, who estimates the change will cut his family’s income by €20,000 from next January, told DutchNews.nl: ‘This could potentially ruin us. We moved here in January 2014 and have just bought a house based on what our income was supposed to be until 2022.
‘Now we potentially can’t afford it, and we can’t resell and leave without incurring a huge financial loss.’
The American national said he had no problem with the rule being changed for future expats. ‘But to think it is okay to bankrupt current expats by betraying the terms they offered and that brought us here in the first place…that can’t be legal, and if its legal, it’s cruel.’
‘There are thousands of expats across the Netherlands now that need the help of a good lawyer to figure out what we can do. All we want is for them to honor their promises to us, is that too much to ask?’
A report drawn up for the government last June said the 30% ruling is too generous and its provisions could be reduced.
Some 60,000 people currently claim the tax break, which effectively means they do not pay tax on the first 30% of their salary. This, the report concludes, cost the treasury some €755m in 2015 and is set to cost €902m this year.