FAQs: the 30% ruling for expats in the Netherlands

What are the requirements for getting the 30% ruling?

These are the main requirements:

1. You must be an employee, hired from abroad.
2. You must agree in writing with your employer that the 30% ruling is applicable. This means your employment contract must contain certain clauses to that effect.
3. You may not have lived within 150 km of the Dutch border for more than eight months out of the last 24 months prior to the start of employment in the Netherlands.
4. You have to meet the annual salary criterium of € 46,107 (2024) or € 35,048 if you are under 30 years old and have a Master’s Degree.
5. You need to have a work permit in the Netherlands. If you are an EU citizen, this goes automatically. If you are not, then getting a work permit is your main priority.

Can I switch employers and keep my 30% ruling?

Yes you can ! You need to apply for a continuation of the ruling, which is a new procedure. You must of course still meet all the conditions, except for the requirement of being hired from abroad. Beware: you must sign your new employment contract within three months after the previous employment ends.The actual start of your employment may occur later.

Are there exceptions to the salary requirement?

For scientific researchers, employees working in scientific education or doctors in training, no minimum salary is required. Please note that there are restrictions regarding the companies or institutions for which this group of employees can work.

Can I use the 30% ruling in my own company or as a freelancer?

Yes you can! If you setup your own BV you will enter into an employment relationship with it as a director. This makes it possible to apply for a 30% ruling to that employment, as long as you meet all the requirements of course. If you are operating from an “Eenmanszaak” (ZZP or sole proprietorship), you cannot establish an employment relationship so the 30% ruling cannot be applied here. Check out this article for more background information. Another article explains the difference between the ZZP/eenmanszaak and the BV+30% ruling setup.

When determining the height of the applicable salary, what salary components are taken into consideration?

The gross salary, any bonuses, holiday allowances, benefit package and company car all add up to the income that is used for the ruling. Pension schemes are (in principle) not part of the income for this purpose.

Do I need a Master’s degree to be eligible for the 30% ruling?

No you don’t. It will only lower the salary threshold to € 35,048 (2024) if you are also under 30, but is not required as such. This means the 30% ruling will become more effective in this case, because you will get the full benefits from a salary of € 50,068 per year already (the threshold amount divided by 0,7). If you earn a salary that is already above the normal salary threshold of € 46,107 divided by 0.7 = € 65,867, it doesn't have any effect if you choose to apply for the lower threshhold with a Master's diploma. The effect will be the same: full use of the 30% ruling.

Why must the employer and employee both cooperate in the application?

If the 30% ruling is fully applicable, your gross salary will be reduced by 30%. This may have implications for your potential unemployment or disability benefits later on, since these benefits are based on your taxable salary. Therefore the tax authorities require that both employer and employee are aware of these consequences. This agreement in writing can be done by means of a clause in your employment contract or as an addendum to the employment contract.

What happens if my application is denied?

If the information provided is correct and the applicant meets the 30% criteria, this will never happen. But if this happens, the applicant should file a letter of objection (“bezwaar”) within six weeks. If this fails, the applicant should go in appeal (“beroep”) at the district court.

Is my entire salary covered by the 30% ruling, or are certain components excluded?

Your entire salary is covered by the 30% ruling (including bonuses) as long as it comes from current labour. This means severance or “transition” payments are usually not covered, because they are paid out after the employment and therefore stem from past labour. Unused holidays paid out are income from current labour and covered by 30% ruling.

I want to work part time under 30% ruling, let’s say for 60%. Does this also reduce my 30% minimum salary criterium pro rata (with 60%) ?

No it does not. The 30% salary minimum is a hard minimum. No breaks apply/allowed.

What do I do first, get a BSN number or start with the 30% ruling application?

The 30% ruling application starts with signing your correct 30% ruling labour contract. This must be done before you obtain your BSN number. Once you obtain your BSN number, you complete your file and the application. If you do it the other way around, you will have a very hard time proving you were an employee recruited from abroad (one of the essential criteria of the 30% ruling).

What is the partial non-resident status and should I opt in for it?

The partial non-resident status is an exemption for filing Dutch income tax returns for Box 2 (shareholdings >5%) and Box 3 (shareholdings <5%, liquid assets, savings accounts, crypto). The exemption means you are not taxed in the Netherlands and you don’t even have to report it as world income. It is a no-brainer in 99.99% of the cases. You can opt in for partial non-resident status as part of your annual income tax returns, and it comes highly recommended.

What’s the difference between a Highly Skilled Migrant (HSM) visa and a 30% ruling.

The HSM visa is a work permit. As a non-EU citizen you need a work permit to work in the Netherlands in the first place, and the HSM may be the solution for you. The 30% ruling presupposes a work permit and then gives you a tax break on your salary. The 30% ruling and the HSM are therefore completely different, but often seen together in the case of non-EU migrants.

I have lived in the Netherlands before. Can I obtain a 30% ruling once more, now that I am migrating to the Netherlands again?

Yes you can, but:

(1) You must once again meet the regular criteria, for example having lived outside 150 km of the Dutch border for 16 months out of the last 24 months prior to the start of employment in the Netherlands.

(2) Any time spent in the Netherlands in the last 25 years (including holidays) will be subtracted from the period of validity of the 30% ruling. This can lead to an effective period of 0 months of validity of the 30% ruling.

What is the 30% ruling minimum salary for 2024 ?

The minimum annual salary for 2024 is € 46,107 or € 35,048 if you are under 30 years old and have a Master’s Degree.

There has been significant backlash to the 2024 scalebacks of the 30% ruling. Is there any chance these scalebacks will be reversed in 2024 or 2025?

Politics are difficult to predict. But large Dutch companies such as ASML, who are dependent on expat workers, have urged Dutch politicians to reconsider the 30% ruling scalebacks and threatened to leave the Netherlands altogether if things remain the same. That would never be allowed to happen, so chances are certainly there that the 30% ruling scalebacks of 2024 will actually be reversed in 2025.

What is the actual tax benefit of the 30% ruling?

Your taxable salary will be reduced by a percentage. This used to be 30% for the duration of 5 years, but in December 2023 this has been changed to a 30% - 20% - 10% gradual decline over 5 years. 30% ruling holders will receive the applicable percentage (30%, 20% or 10%) as tax free reimbursement for expat expenses. Depending on the actual height of your salary this benefit varies.

What deadlines apply to a 30% ruling application?

You must file for your 30% ruling within 4 months after the start of your employment in the Netherlands. If you miss this deadline, you can still apply for the 30% ruling but it will miss its retroactive effect back to the first day of your employment.

Can I transfer a 30% ruling to a new employer later?

Yes. You can transfer your 30% ruling later to a new employer. You need to consider three things:

1. Make sure that during your previous employment, you have met the minimum yearly salary on a pro rated basis. For example: after six months you decide to work for another employer.

2. If you are transferring an existing 30% ruling from a previous employer to a new one, make sure you sign your new labor contract within 3 months after the end of the previous one.

3. If you ended the previous employment with a period of inactive status or “garden leave”, the start of that inactive period counts as the end of that employment for this purpose.

I am transferring my 30% ruling to a new employer, and have enjoyed an unemployment allowance in between. Does this impact my 30% ruling?

If your unemployment allowance is paid for by your previous employer as part of their own risk there is no problem unless this amount is so low that your total yearly salary falls under the 30% minimum threshold. This can hardly ever be the case.

If your unemployment allowance is paid for by the government (UWV) as regular WW-uitkering, this is considered a separate employment for 30% ruling purposes. This means that, in principle, your WW-uitkering should meet the minimum salary requirement pro-rata the WW-uitkering period. So if you enjoy 3 months of benefits, make sure you meet the 30% minimum on a monthly basis.

Is there a difference between “partial” and “full” benefits of the ruling?

Once you meet the salary requirement, you are eligible for the 30 % ruling. But in order to fully benefit from all 30 percents of the 30% ruling, your salary must be the minimum threshold of € 46,107 (2024) after deducting the 30%. So in order to fully enjoy the benefits, the salary must be € 65,867 (that is: € 46,107 divided by 0.7). If the salary goes under this, the net benefit is capped at the difference between your gross salary and the 30% minimum, so in effect would slip percentage points under 30%.

When can I start the 30% ruling application?

You can start the application once you have received the Dutch civic registration number (BSN). You will receive this number upon your successful migration to the Netherlands.

NB: At this point, you need to have fulfilled all the requirements and have a signed employment contract ready, so please take care of that correct sequence of events. Your employer needs to file the request within four months after signing your employment contract. If you apply after this period, the ruling will become effective as of the next month, without retroactive effect.

Does the 30% ruling have retroactive effect?

The 30% ruling has retroactive effect to the start of the employment, if the application is submitted within 4 months after the start. If the application is submitted after 4 months, the 30 % ruling can be obtained but it will only apply to the salary received starting the month after your request is received.

What happens if I cease to meet the salary requirement?

If you have worked for a full year and at the end you realize you don’t meet the salary requirement of € 46,107 (2024), the 30% ruling is rescinded retroactively to January 1st of the year. That means the wages and taxes must be recalculated accordingly, and repayments must be made.

NB: If the employment ends halfway through the year, that doesn’t mean the salary earned up until then counts towards the annual salary requirement. In stead, it gets recalculated pro rata the months worked in the year.

Do I need to make the 30% minimum salary in full in fractured years, or is it prorated for the actual number of months of my employment?

Let’s say your employment is exceptionally short: you get to work July 1st, 2024 and you leave December 31st, 2024. In this case your 30% minimum salary is calculated pro rata the number of months of your employment. In this example your minimum for 2024 is 50% of € 46,107 equals € 23,053.

What can I expect to earn as net income?

Take your annual salary, including any bonuses and holiday pay. Subtract 30% from that. If the result is at least € 46,107 (over 30) or € 35,048 (under 30 years), you can write that 30% down as net income. Run the remaining 70% of your salary through any standard net salary calculator like this. Add the two together, and you have your total net income.

If subtracting 30% from your annual salary lowers you below the applicable threshold, instead subtract an amount that exactly lands on the minimum. Write that amount down as net salary. Run the remaining amount through any standard salary calculator like this. Add the two together, and you have your net income. In this case you have a 30% ruling but cannot make ”full use” of it. This full use exists for annual salaries at or above € 65,867 (2024).

What are the new changes per 2024 ?

In another article we explain the new rules for the 30% ruling in 2024. Expat employees starting in the Netherlands in 2024 and aiming for the 30% ruling should expect the following:

(i) 30% tax free compensation during month 1-20 of the employment, 20% tax free compensation during month 21 - 40 of the employment and 10% tax free compensation during month 41 - 60 of the employment.

(ii) Abolishment of the partial non-resident tax status for box 2 and box 3 taxation on foreign assets, from January 1st, 2025 and onwards.

Employees starting their employment before January 1st, 2024 are unaffected by the new rules and remain under the old regime. The start date of their employment is the deciding factor here, not the date on which the 30% ruling was issued to the employee. Late 2023 starters may receive their 30% ruling well into 2024, but still fall under the old regime on account of the start date of their employment in 2023.

What were the new changes per 2023 ?

Per January 1st, 2024 the maximum salary under 30% ruling will be capped at € 233,000 per year. Any salary above this will be taxed fully and normally, without applying the 30% ruling.

There is a transitional regime that grants a 2 year respite period for 30% applicants, that are able to obtain a 30% ruling an apply it to their salary up until December 31st 2022. In these cases, the cap of € 233,000 is only applied from January 1st, 2026 onwards.

How long does it take to get the 30% ruling?

Once your file is complete, you can expect a fast-track advisor to get the 30% ruling for you in 2 months. If you do it yourself you can expect it to take 3 months or more. Remember that completing your file may also take some time. You need your Dutch BSN number and your BV needs a wage tax number. If you want the ruling fast, do it via us!

How long can I use the 30% ruling?

The maximum duration of the ruling is five years. If you have lived in the Netherlands in the past - including before the 24 month period - the maximum duration of the ruling may also be shortened.

The 30% ruling requires me to have specific expertise or skills, which are not available on the Dutch labour market. How do I prove this?

Expertise and skills are considered to be present once you meet the salary requirement. There is no further proof required here.

Are there additional benefits to the 30% ruling?

Quite a few actually:

1. You can opt for ‘partial non-residency status’. You will remain tax resident for income purposes, but not for taxation on substantial interest (Box 2) and savings and investments (Box 3). This is almost always an attractive option.

2. As a foreigner you normally must take a new driving test to obtain a Dutch driver’s license. But when you have a 30% ruling you can simply exchange your foreign driver’s license for a Dutch one.

3. Your employer can reimburse your children’s education costs tax-free, under the condition that this education is being provided at an institution specialized in educating foreign expatriate children in the Netherlands.

In addition to this, your employer may reimburse the following costs, tax free :
- relocation of your household goods to the Netherlands;
- plane tickets for you and your family to the Netherlands;
- compensation of relocation costs up to € 7,750 (2024).
Please make sure you keep the invoices and receipts for this in your file.

Does my passport nationality have any bearing on getting the 30% ruling?

No, none whatsoever. This is only important in getting a work permit.

I plan on working in the Netherlands via a payroll construction at a payroll company. Can I use my 30% ruling there?

Yes you can. You are, after all, employed in the Netherlands. As long as you meet all the requirements, this works. The payroll company will probably charge you a fee for their troubles , mind you.

What happens if I decide to emigrate halfway through the year. Do I have to pay back my benefits?

If you decide to leave the Netherlands before you’ve enjoyed a full year’s salary, you will not be held to the minimum salary requirement of one full year. In stead, it will be recalculated to a monthly salary and the 30% will be applied there ( if you meet it of course).

My employer will not cooperate with my 30 % ruling. Why on earth would they force me to pass on this?

Some Dutch companies really dislike letting certain employees have benefits which are inaccessible to others. They consider their standard remuneration package “comfortable enough” and refuse to cooperate with a 30% ruling. If this is your situation, you will not be able to get the ruling because you need your employer’s cooperation.

What are extraterritorial costs and how can I claim compensation for this?

Extraterritorial costs include: extra costs of living, costs for a familiarization trip to the Netherlands, fees for applying for or converting official personal papers, double housing costs, and more. They are explained in full detail here. You need to make a choice here: either you claim compensation for the abovementioned actual extraterritorial costs, or you apply the 30% ruling. You cannot do both.

If I get a 30% ruling, does my partner get any benefits from it as well?

The 30% income tax break is a personal tax break that is not conferred to the partner of the 30% ruling holder. The benefits can only be obtained by any person obtaining the 30% ruling themselves. But if you and your partner declare income taxes together as tax partners (as “fiscaal partners”), your partner may also benefit from the Box 3 tax exemption provided from the partial non-resident status (if you opt in for this). Lastly, the partner of the 30% ruling holder may also swap their foreign driver’s licence for a Dutch one.

I have obtained a 30% ruling under the new 2024 rules. I will be granted less than 60 months of 30% usage due to time previously spent in the Netherlands. Where do I subtract these months, at the beginning or at the end?

These months are subtracted working from the end to the beginning. So first from the 10% months, then the 20% months and finally the 30% months.