Changes to Dutch laws and benefits in effect from January, 2017
With the turn of the new year, numerous legal changes took effect on January, 2017, unless otherwise stated. Here is an overview for each category.
Employment, savings and income
Changes to Dutch income and salaries include:
› Salaries equivalent to the minimum wage must now be paid into bank accounts. Cash payments are no longer allowed.
› The age of retirement has risen to 65 years and nine months, with the monthly state pension rising to 1.199,40 euros for a single person and 1.640,36 euros for a couple.
› The minimum wage for those 23 years of age and above is now 1.551,60 euros gross monthly.
› The amount of pay one can take home has risen 1,26 percent due to work-related premiums.
› Tax on income in the second and third tax brackets has risen from 40,4 to 40,8 percent.
› People eligible for welfare benefits are now entitled to have more savings. Single people may have up to 5.940 euros in assets when applying, whilst single parents or households can total 11.880 euros.
› Companies with long-term employees on leave, or those who take time off for a disability, are entitled to a subsidy of up to 2.000 euros per year, with the employee receiving half the amount, provided they earn just over minimum wage.
› Per person, 25.000 euros of assets (such as savings or shares) are tax free, whilst assets up to 75.000 will be taxed at 0,87 percent, and at a rate of 1,41 percent up to 975.000 euros. Assets above this amount will be taxed at 1,65 percent.
› Directors and major shareholders of start-ups can now also pay themselves a minimum wage for the first three years of operation rather than a total of 44.000 euros.
Property and Housing
There have been significant changes to laws regarding property and housing:
› The maximum amount home buyers can borrow for their mortgage has gone down by 1 percent from 102 to 101 percent of the property value.
› The maximum gift allowance towards buying or renovating a home has gone up to 100.000 euros for recipients aged between 18 and 40 when donated by a parent or other party, which can be spread over the duration of three years.
› Mortgage interest rates has dropped whereby the maximum rate of tax that can be deducted has gone down from 50.5 to 50 percent for those earning over 67.072 euros gross.
› The national mortgage guarantee will cover homes valued up to 247.450 euros.
› Rental increases are, on average, lower due to the introduction of a maximum rental fee for rent-controlled properties in the public sector. It may not exceed the total level of inflation plus one percent.
› Social housing rents will rise by 2,8 percent for low income households and 4,3 percent for the tenants who earn above the limit.
› The monthly rent benefit (huurtoeslag) will rise by up to 10,50 euros.
› Energy bills are rising by around 56 euros a year, half of which is due to tax increases. However, those taking energy-saving measures can apply for grants.
Changes have been made to health care benefits.
› The maximum annual healthcare benefit has increased to 1.066 euros for singles and 2.043 euros for couples.
› Basic Dutch health insurance (basisverzekering) now also covers the following treatments: upper eyelid operations, breast implants for (trans) women who have no breast growth, medically necessary circumcision, and implants for young people lacking permanent incisors and canines. Young people can get a dental implant until they reach the age of 23.
› All health insurance companies are now required to inform patients of mishaps during their treatment and must also employ a complaints officer.
From April 2017, pregnant women will be partially reimbursed for a Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT).
The child allowance (kinderbijslag) is going up depending on family income, number of children and type of childcare.
› Low income families can expect to receive up to 1.142 euros for their first child, and up to 898 euros for their second. Additional children qualify for 285 euros extra each.
› Child benefits per quarter are now 198,38 euros for children under six, 240,89 euros for under 12, and 283,40 euros for children who are between 13 and 17.
› The maximum monthly allowance for the childcare benefit (kinderopvangtoeslag) is 230 euros, equating to 8,18 euros per hour for daycare and 6,69 euros for after-school care.
There are some minor changes regarding transportation.
› Tax credits for hybrid company cars has been stopped, only fully electric cars will qualify for the 4 percent company car tax.
› Vehicle tax for passengers will be reduced to less than 3 percent.
› Electric bikes that are capable of going up to 45km/h now require a license plate.
› Vocational college students (mbo) under 18 years of age now qualify for a free student travel card.
There have also been some miscellaneous changes.
› From July 1, 2017, individuals as well as corporate clients experiencing a fault or interference with their telephone, internet or television that lasts longer than 12 hours will be entitled to compensation.
› Stricter sentences will be imposed for those convicted of violent crime if a substance test shows they misbehaved whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
› Companies who do business with the government are now required to use an automated, electronic billing system.
› Refugees with residence permits will no longer get social housing priority from April, 2017.
› A single law will replace the previous three laws managing wildlife protection.