Dutch tax filing season

Dutch tax filing season

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Blue Umbrella takes you through all the steps for filing your Dutch income tax. [Contributed by Blue Umbrella]

Income Tax filing season is here again! No need to panic if you follow the following script.

1. Are you required to file? 

2. Do you need more time?

3. How to file your income tax return?

Let’s look at each of the three steps.

1. Are you required to file?

If you received an invitation from the Dutch Tax Office to file your income tax return, you are required to file. An invitation from the Dutch Tax Office should not be turned down. If you did not receive an invitation but you have undeclared income components (eg you have savings in excess of EUR 21,139) you are also required to file your income tax return. But even when you are not required to file it can be beneficial to file your income tax and get money back. Reasons to do so are:

1. You did not live in the Netherlands for the whole year;

2. Your partner had no income;

3. You own a property and paid interest for the mortgage;

4. You made study cost.

2. Do you need more time?

Filing your income tax is mainly about collecting relevant tax documents (such as annual income statements and receipts). If you feel you need more time, request an extension of your tax filing due date. Call the Dutch Tax Office (ph. 0800 0543) to obtain a six month extension. Requests for extensions can be made between March 1 and May 1. Keep your BSN at hand. A tax adviser can also apply for an extension, often free of charge.

3. How to file your income tax return?

Give a little thought how you want to file your income tax return. The cheapest option is to use the app from the website of the Dutch Tax Office (www.belastingdienst.nl). Filing through the app is free of charge. Check carefully if the app suits your personal situation. Alternatively, you may choose to hire a tax adviser. This would save you the hassle of various handlings to file your income tax return, while you get guidance from an experienced adviser. A vast number of tax advisers are available to choose from. Rates do vary widely, so make sure you compare a few to understand what is a reasonable rate for you.

Classical tax advisers whom you meet in person are usually more expensive that contemporary advisers who handle most or all of the tax filing electronically. While the information intake may differ between tax advisers, the actual tax filing is pretty standard. Nearly every tax adviser use a standard off-the-shelf tax filing program to prepare your income tax file. The tax filing outcome prepared by different advisers are therefore identical.

Voluntary income tax return filing

If you are not invited to file your income tax, you may do so on a voluntary basis. For instance, because you have tax deductibles, which you want to reclaim from the Dutch Tax Office. In that case, you can file your income tax return at a time chosen by yourself. You can file your income return up to five years in retrospect.

Tax deductibles may arise for mortgage expenses, alimony (cancelled in 2015), donations, listed buildings, specific medical expenses (not reimbursed by your insurer), educational expenses, expenses for a temporary stay at home of seriously disabled persons, migration year (tax resident for part of the year).

Non-working spouse tax credit

A specific tax arrangement exists for a fiscal partner (eg a spouse) who did not have a gainful income for the full calendar year. If both fiscal partners resided in the Netherlands for the full calendar year, then the non-working spouse may be eligible for a tax refund (2014) of up to EUR 1,262 (born in or after 1963) or EUR 2,103 (born before 1963).  

Tax Mail

Tax Mail can be a tricky affair. While the Dutch Tax Office is fairly flexible, their procedures are not. Most procedures are automated. This is why you receive reminders and late payment fee promptly. Complying with procedures require response on mail you receive from the Dutch Tax Office. Make sure you read and understand all letters you receive from the Dutch Tax Office. You can also have this outsourced to a tax adviser for a small fee.

Contributed by Blue Umbrella, online Dutch income tax return filing for internationals.

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