Saturday 19 October 2019

All change in 2019: taxes, traffic fines, benefits and paternity leave

Food goes up in price, income tax goes down and the minimum wage rises – here is a round up of the main changes in rules and regulations which may affect you in 2019. The government, by the way, says it expects nearly everyone to have more to spend next year.

Work-related issues

  • The income tax rate in the second tax band (€20,142 to €68,507) will go down from 40.85% to 38.1% but is virtually unchanged in the lowest and highest tax band.
  • Various tax deductions for people in work (heffingskorting and arbeidskorting) will also go up, so people with jobs will keep a little more of their income.
  • The maximum tax-free allowance for volunteers will go up from €150 per month to €170 per month.
  • Company car drivers with an electric car will have to pay tax on 4% of the catalogue value of their cars up to €50,000 and 22% over the rest – if they use their car privately to drive more than 500 kilometres a year. The standard rate of 22% for other company cars will not change.
  • The 30% ruling duration for new claims will go down from eight to five years.
  • The minimum wage for an adult aged at least 22 will rise €21.60 a month to €1,615.80. For a 19-year-old, the rise is €11.90 to €888.70.

Other taxes

  • The lower rate of value-added tax (btw) will go up from 6% to 9%, which means food, books, visits to the hairdresser, concerts and sports events and buying flowers and plants will all cost more.
  • Gas and electricity will be more expensive due to energy tax increases
  • The maximum mortgage tax relief rate will go down from 49.5% to 49% – this only affects people in the highest tax band of over €68,507.

Children

  • The partners of new mothers will get five days paid leave, compared with just two in 2018.
  • The period of leave for parents who are adopting or fostering a child will go up from four to six weeks, fully paid.
  • Child benefits will go up and the maximum income limit for help with paying for regulated childcare will rise from €58,500 to some €75,000.
  • At the same time daycare centres will have to employ more staff per group of children, which will increase the price slightly.

Healthcare and care services

  • The basic health insurance policy now covers advice for people at risk of developing health issues because they are overweight.
  • Parcetamol and over the counter vitamins and minerals will no longer be available on prescription. A new limit of €250 has been introduced for people who have to contribute towards the cost of medication.
  • The incomes test for home nursing services (WMO) will be abolished and people living in residential care will face lower asset-related fees.
  • The maximum healthcare benefit will rise to €99 a month for a single person with an income of less than €20,500 a year.

Crime and punishment

  • It will be easier for mayors to close buildings they suspect are being used to produce or sell drugs
  • The police will be able to keep car number plate registrations made by speed and surveillance cameras for four weeks – whether or not the driver is suspected of any crime.
  • Traffic fines will go up – for example driving through a red light will cost €240 rather than €230. People will also be able to pay fines of €75 upwards by installments. The current limit is €225.

Other changes

  • The state pension age rises to 66 years and four months.
  • The price of a packet of 20 cigarettes will rise 6 cents and 40 grams of rolling tobacco 11 cents.
  • The relatives of people killed or left very seriously disabled through a crime or negligence will have the right to compensation (affectieschade)

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