Controversial STAP budget is still available in 2023
If you’re planning to do extra training that could help with your job or business, there’s no time better than the present. International tax advisor Blue Umbrella explains all there is to know about the STAP budget.
This year, the Netherlands still offers a training allowance budget of up to 1.000 euros per person - provided by the government - to use for job-related development. The allowance is called the STAP budget, which means “step” in Dutch, and stands for STimulering Arbeidsmarkt Positie (Stimulating Job Market Positions).
However, you should consider your options now because next year, in 2024, this controversial budget will be scrapped.
STAP: Education allowance for Dutch residents
In the past, you could offset your training costs against your current income (or against your future income) if they were more than 250 euros a year. But from March 1, 2022, this deduction was replaced by the subsidy for study costs from officially registered and recognised providers.
This year, a total of 170 million euros is available and the next application round starts on July 3, 2023.
However, it is wise to be prepared as several Dutch news outlets have reported that when applications opened at the start of May, the entire 34 million euros available for the round had been given out by 1 PM on the same day. There were 38.000 applicants and some people were reportedly still waiting in the online queue.
Why the STAP budget will be discontinued
The STAP grant has been controversial for some time and was paused at the end of 2022 because it was being used for questionable “courses”. One of the courses receiving government money was apparently a two-day “Discover yourself” trip to Amsterdam, Antwerp and Paris. Several other courses were also criticised for having flimsy content.
Consequently, the rules were tightened up and in this year’s spring budget announcement, the Dutch Minister of Finance, Sigrid Kaag, said that the education allowance would be scrapped in 2024.
STAP budget applicants
According to data from the UWV benefits agency, people applying for the grant are typically between 30 and 40 years old, with 57% applying for extra training for their current role. Meanwhile, the rest are training with the hope of getting other work in future. The top five professions applying are: administrative workers, nurses, consultants, teachers and business workers.
Sign up for the education allowance
To apply for the courses, you must be over the age of 18, without a pension, and have lived in the Netherlands for at least six of the past 27 months. The eligible courses are listed on the government’s STAP budget website. The offerings range from computer courses to mediation training and integrative psychotherapy; some of them being fully covered by the subsidy while others have significant extra costs.
So, if you are intending to do some extra training for your current job, or for your next potential job, now is the time to do it. Sometimes there are subsidies or deductions for studying in the Netherlands and sometimes there are not, so it is always wise to be up-to-date and take full advantage of your benefits in the tax regime. It might be a tight job market, but you never know when you will need extra skills.