[30% Ruling] How "scarce" is your expertise?

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The 30% facility is a tax advantage for foreign employees working in the Netherlands who meet certain criteria including proof that they are transferred from abroad (look previous article for exemption), as well as that their expertise is scarce on the Dutch labour market. However, there are certain exemptions.


› In 2008, a football club (employer) was looking for a new head coach.
› The employer defined the skills and qualifications the new head coach should have, and only two candidates were (thought to be) suitable for the position.
 The newly hired Belgian, who accepted the offer, applied for the 30% ruling but the Dutch tax authorities rejected his request.
› The individual and his employer filed an appeal at the Breda District Court and the Den Bosch Court of Appeal, both of which rejected it.

How do you define "scarce?"

The Breda District Court ruled that the football club had not sufficiently proven that the Belgian candidate’s expertise was scarce on the Dutch labour market and thus had to be hired from abroad.

The Den Bosch Court ruled that the employer’s criteria were too limited; the football club excluded candidates who asked for higher salary, were too old and / or recently laid off. According to the Court, these candidates were still "available." Consequently, the number of candidates in the Netherlands was higher (13 in total), and the Belgian’s expertise is not considered "scarce."


Given that all other conditions / requirements are met, applying for the 30% ruling is possible only if one can prove that his / her expertise is scarce on the local labour market. However, the definition of "scarce" is somewhat vague; note that there were only 13 candidates in total (example above).

You are highly advised to ask for professional help (even before accepting a position, if possible) in order to make sure that your request for the 30% ruling will be successful.

Nico Koppel is an Expat Service Provider, who specialises in tax advice & accountancy. For more information, please comment below or visit Koppel Tax Consultants.

Nico Koppel


Nico Koppel



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