Following your partner to the Netherlands: First steps
BDO is a global top-five accounting firm, with more than 2.000 skilled and experienced employees in the Netherlands.
Your partner receives a job offer from the Netherlands that is too good to refuse. You both decide to move there. The employer takes care of everything for your partner, like visas, the required permits and their tax returns… but what about you? Many questions may come to mind related to your move and work opportunities in the Netherlands. What will it mean financially and tax-wise for you?
Immigrating to the Netherlands
The first thing to figure out is whether you can legally travel and stay in the Netherlands. As EU-citizens can legally stay and work in the Netherlands without having to arrange any permits, we will only focus on non-EU partners.
Under Dutch law, the partner with a residence permit submits a request to have their non-EU partner be granted the right to live here as well. The residence-permit-holding partner has to declare that he / she will be your so-called recognised sponsor.
Conditions for receiving a partner's residence permit
Furthermore, there are a few other conditions which have to be met:
- You have to be married to your partner, have a registered partnership or be in a long-term and exclusive relationship (when in a long-term relationship you should file a relationship declaration)
- You need to confirm that you will live together in the Netherlands
- Your partner has to have an independent, sufficient and sustainable income, meaning:
- Their income is guaranteed for at least the next 12 months, or the next 6 months if their salary in the 12 months prior to their application exceeded the required amount
- Their income meets the statutory minimum wage requirements.
- A request must be filed with the IND.
When the above-mentioned conditions are met, you will be granted a residence permit dependent on your partner’s permit. This means that if you break up or your partner loses their job, it could have negative consequences for your residency rights in the Netherlands. It is also important to note that your partner has the obligation to notify the IND when changes occur that could affect your right of residence.
If you break up or your partner loses their job, it could have negative consequences for your right of residence.
Are partners permitted to work?
As a dependent on your partner, your right to work in the Netherlands is also dependent on the type of permit your partner has. Is your partner allowed to work? Then you are allowed to work in the Netherlands as well. This information is also shown on the back of your residence permit.
Of course, all of the above is different if you have the right to stay here on your own. For instance, if you have a job in the Netherlands, you may qualify for the highly skilled migrant ruling or an ICT-permit.
Normally, you are taxed on your worldwide income in your home country and are subject to taxation at source in other countries. Your home country is the country where you qualify as a tax resident.
When you move to the Netherlands with your partner, it is likely that, depending on other facts and circumstances, you will become a tax resident of the Netherlands from a Dutch national perspective. This means you will have to include your worldwide income on your Dutch income tax return. There is one exception to this concept: the 30% ruling.
30% ruling advantages
If your partner is hired from abroad to work in the Netherlands, he / she might be eligible for the expat ruling, known as the 30% ruling. With the 30% ruling, an employer is able to grant a tax-free allowance amounting to a maximum 30% of the taxable salary.
Furthermore, if you are entitled to the 30% ruling, you are merely taxed in the Netherlands for your income from home and work (box 1). This means that income from substantial interest in a foreign entity (box 2) or foreign savings and investments (box 3) is left out of your Dutch income tax return for the duration of the 30% ruling.
You, as the partner of the expat, might be eligible for the 30% ruling as well.
Are you eligible for the 30% ruling?
If arranged well, you, as the partner of the expat, might be eligible for the 30% ruling as well. One of the conditions of the 30% ruling is that you have to be hired from abroad, meaning you have to live at least 150 kilometres from the Dutch border when you are hired.
We often see that someone first moves to the Netherlands with their partner and then starts looking for work. In that case, you will no longer qualify for the 30% ruling when you find a job with a Dutch employer.
Of course, this is a missed opportunity! However, if you can show that you were already negotiating your employment contract while you were still living abroad, you might still be eligible for the 30% ruling, providing you meet the other conditions, including a minimum salary requirement, as well.
The advantages of your partner having the 30% ruling
Even if you don’t obtain the 30% ruling for yourself, your partner being eligible can benefit you as well. How does this work?
In the Netherlands, you can attribute (joint) income to your fiscal partner. A fiscal partner is someone you are married to or with whom you live under a cohabitation contract or registered partnership. Even if you do not have a cohabitation contract, you can still qualify as fiscal partners if you, among other things, own your home together or have a child together.
If you have box 2 or box 3 income yourself, you can attribute this to your partner. As a 30% ruling beneficiary, your partner is only taxed for income from home and work (box 1) as a resident taxpayer. For box 2 and 3, they are taxed as a non-resident taxpayer, meaning your foreign savings remain untaxed in the Netherlands as long as your partner has the 30% ruling. Please note that an income tax return in the Netherlands has to be filed in order to achieve this.
Taking those first steps
Moving to the Netherlands comes with more to consider than just where you will live and work. Don’t forget that if you follow your partner it is important to think about the kind of residence permit you will need. And also remember that you will likely become a Dutch tax resident and have to adhere to the Netherlands’ tax rules.
Do you want to know more about moving to the Netherlands and how this will affect you financially and tax-wise? The BDO expat team has a wide knowledge regarding wage and income tax, social security and the 30% ruling. Please feel free to contact BDO for more information or fill in the form below.