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30% Ruling: Conditions and Application

Are you planning to move to the Netherlands as an expat and would like to know if you qualify for the 30% ruling? Or are you already in the Netherlands and forgot to apply for it? We have made a quick and easy overview with an explanation of the 30% ruling and details on when you qualify for it.


  • The employee must have specific expertise: rare specific expertise is determined based on a salary norm, which is indexed annually. For 2013, the employee must have a taxable annual salary of € 35.770 or more which is exclusive the 30% ruling.
  • The salary norm for a master student up to the age of 30 is € 27.190. This does not apply to employees (e.g. PhD) who work in the Netherlands in the area of teaching and research at certain educational institutes, including universities, designated for this purpose. For the last two categories of people special rules apply with respect to the 150 km requirement (see below).
  • Part-timers have to comply with this salary norm as well – in other words, the salary cannot be calculated in proportion to the scope of employment.
  • In addition to the criterion of specific expertise, another applicable factor is scarcity: the specific expertise is not (on not easily) available in the Dutch labor market. However, the scarcity criterion is only applicable in special cases (for example for professional football players).
  • The employee will have to show that for more than 16 months prior to the start of employment, they have lived at a distance of more than 150 kilometers (in a straight line) from the Netherlands. When determining whether the employee meets the criterion, the period of doing a doctorate is not taken into account for a doctoral candidate in the case of consecutive employment in the Netherlands.
  • The above rule does not apply to employees who previously stayed in the Netherlands and who met the 150-kilometer test when they first arrived for their employment or assignment and this employment or assignment commenced less than eight years ago. This change has retroactive effect as of January 1, 2012

Your Employment Contract

The employment contract should specifically refer to the 30%-ruling. The remuneration package should be drafted in the employment agreement in such a manner that the 30% tax-free allowance will be paid in addition to the wage from current employment relating to the employment activities in the Netherlands as an extraterritorial employee.

The wage from current employment includes not only the fixed salary elements like the gross salary and the holiday allowance, but it also includes incidental and flexible reimbursements such as bonuses. Since the 30%-ruling is calculated based on the wage from current employment income, it is not applicable to indemnity payments in case of dismissal or retirement.

The Application

The application for the 30% ruling is a mutual request by the employer and the employee and must be filed to the tax office in Heerlen within four months after the start of the employment activities in the Netherlands. If the application is not made within four months, the facility will only be granted as of the first day of the month following the month in which the application is filed.

The 30% ruling may be applied to payments received after the end of the employment, if they are actually paid in the month following the month in which the employment or assignment in the Netherlands ended. Examples of these payments received after the conclusion of the assignment in the Netherlands, but which relate to the assignment period in the Netherlands, are accrued vacation allowance, a 13th month incentive payment, or a payment to compensate outstanding vacation days. The Dutch tax authorities have given approval for these payments to be made under application of the 30% ruling, if the payment occurs in the month following the month the employment or assignment ended.

Change of Employer

An employee who already has the 30% ruling can switch to a new employer and benefit from the 30%-ruling again (for the time remaining). The period between the one employment and the other may not exceed three months, after which a new application is required.

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