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My salary is just too low for the 30% ruling. Are there still options to get a tax free allowance?


My husband moved to Amsterdam last December 1st. He works as IT developer and his Dutch company has told him today that he can't apply for the 30% ruling (his gross salary is € 48,000 not € 52,000) They offered to him to present all the receipts of extraterritorial costs to reseimbure, but we are not sure about two things:

1) Which expenses can he justify for a reimbursement?

2) There is no chance to get the 30% ruling? He lives in Amsterdam but he can go to Utrecht to see you. Thank you in advance.
1) You can find a summary and explanation of the extra territorial costs on These extra territorial costs can be reimbursed tax free if your husband can proof to his employer that he actually paid the costs. Also other employment related costs are stated there, which may be reimbursed tax free too. His employer can decide what he is willing to reimburse (unless the applicable collective labour agreement - if any - already declares that an employee is entitled to certain reimbursements of employment related expenses). 
2) An option is that his employer doesn't pay him the full 30% allowance but a lower amount as such that he reaches the required taxable salary. You refer to a gross salary, but the 30% ruling requires a certain taxable salary. See for more info. This will require some calculations every year from your employer. It would also be good to mention in the employment contract that if the 30% ruling is granted it will be implemented in the payroll as such that the taxable salary will (always) be higher than the required amount. 
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Comments (8)
Comment by Javier on Wed, Mar 25th, 2015 at 7:34 PM
Hello, my name is Javier and I would like to know if I will be paid 4000 euros gross per month plus 8% holiday allowance plus the general bonus plan of the company if I can add these extra amounts to the annual gross salary to reach the minimum taxable salary to apply for the 30% ruling or if these extra amounts can not be added to reach the minimum taxable salary required in 30% ruling Thanks in advanced and regardsJavier
Comment by Arjan Enneman on Wed, Apr 1st, 2015 at 11:20 PM
The holiday allowance and the bonus are taxable items and therefor increase the taxable salary which is the basis for calculating the 30% ruling. So they can indeed be added to determine whether you qualify.
Comment by Maria on Thu, Sep 3rd, 2015 at 12:15 PM
Hi, I am planning to move in Amsterdam for work and my annual salary will be 32K gross. I am less than 30 and I possess 2 masters. Am I eligible for 30% ruling? If not, do I have alternatives? Thanks in advance! Maria
Comment by Arjan Enneman on Wed, Sep 23rd, 2015 at 12:13 PM
For employees under the age of 30 who have obtained a master degree at a foreign university the minimum required taxable salary (70%) in 2015 is € 27,901 (which is gross € 39,859). Your gross salary is € 32k so you won‘t be able to make maximum use of the 30% ruling. If your employer agrees to apply for the ruling and to adjust the tax free allowance as such that your taxable salary will be at least € 27,901 then you can be eligible for the 30% ruling. And if your employer doesn‘t want to cooperate the only option would be a tax free reimbursement of the real extra territorial costs, but that would be an expense for your employer on top of your salary which is something your employer may not be willing to do. There is no possibility to deduct the expenses in your income tax return.
Comment by Owain on Thu, Nov 5th, 2015 at 1:01 PM
What are the effects of pension contributions on the minimum required taxable salary? Must they be subtracted before calculating whether you qualify?
Comment by Arjan Enneman on Fri, Nov 6th, 2015 at 6:49 PM
The pension contributions made by your employer are tax free so they are not part of the required taxable salary. The contributions you pay yourself are deducted and therefore reduce the taxable salary, but this is done after the 30% ruling has been calculated. So the contributions you pay yourself won‘t reduce the salary for the 30% ruling.
Comment by TJ on Thu, Jul 21st, 2016 at 8:21 PM
Hi Arjan, I joined my 1st employer on 01-Sep-2015 with salary of 47500 including vacation pay, they applied for 30 % ruling and it was approved also. I got salary as per 30% ruling always till May-2016. I changed my job in Jun2016 and joined another company, while applying for continuation tax office mentioned that I am not eligible for 30% ruling from 01-Jan-2015 retrospectively as I did not meet the threshhold salary requirements for 2015. I am confused with this, as it was approved in 2015 only and my salary was also 47500. Can you help me on this to understand what is missing? My age is 27 years old and I am a Computer Science Engineer working in IT company on Dependent Visa.
Comment by Arjan Enneman on Mon, Sep 12th, 2016 at 4:59 PM
The tax authorities look at the taxable salary to determine whether you can make use of the 30% ruling. It turns out that in 2015 your taxable salary was too low. This may have been a result of using the maximum percentage of 30% for the tax free allowance. If your employer didn‘t check this than indeed you will lose the ruling retro active to the start of the year in which your taxable salary is too low. By reducing the tax free allowance to a lower percentage the taxable salary could have been increased to the required level. That would have led to a lower net salary for you, but you would have kept the 30% ruling. Now you have lost it and won‘t get it back as long as you are living in the Netherlands. The tax authorities granted the ruling to you based on a gross salary of EUR 47,500 since the rules make it possible to calculate the tax free allowance in the payroll administration as such that you would reach the required taxable salary. That is possible with a gross salary of EUR 47,500. So it is important that the income requirement is checked on a regular basis. If your previous employer is willing to adjust the 2015 payroll administration for you then you can keep the ruling and apply for it with your new employer again.
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