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I haven’t received a tax return, do I still need to file one?

We receive a lot of questions about the obligation to file a tax return. What are the rules?

The tax authorities will normally send you a tax return when you are in 'the system' and the wage tax you paid in the past year didn't cover the income tax which means you may have to pay extra income tax or claim a refund. If you have received a provisional refund then you will always receive a tax return.

There are several reasons why the wage tax may not cover the income tax:

  • freelance or business income;
  • you receive a provisional refund for mortgage interest;
  • you can claim a deduction for study costs, paid alimony, mortgage interest etc.
  • child credits are not included in the salary;
  • etc.
If you can claim a refund and you haven't received an invitation from the tax authorities to file a tax return then you can still file a tax return. Expatax can assist you with this and prepare a tax return for you. Normally you need a P-form which must be filed electronically. If you came to the Netherlands during the year then an M form is needed whereby 'M' stands for 'Migration'. The M form can, since 2015, also be filed electronically. A tax return can be filed for the last 5 years.
  1. The calculation of the wage tax is based on an (estimated) annual salary. This is your monthly salary times 12 plus holiday allowance. The payroll administration will use the tax rate which is applicable for the annual salary. This tax rate may be lower if you worked in the Netherlands less than 12 months. In the income tax return the real salary will be the basis for the tax calculations.
  2. In the payroll administration the tax credits may not have been calculated for the correct amount. 
  3. The (maximum) premium income which is the basis for the calculation of premiums social security will be reduced pro rate according to the period of stay in the Netherlands. In the payroll administration this pro rata reduction can't be claimed, so it will have to be done in the income tax return.

If you would like to know whether you can (still) claim a refund please contact us. If you know that you (officially) have to pay additional income tax then you have to request a tax return yourself if you haven't received one before July 1st of the year after the tax year. Expatax can prepare your Dutch tax return.

The above means that not everybody in the Netherlands needs to file a tax return. Especially for individuals without children who are in the Netherlands for the whole year and have a regular paid job with no other (negative) income the wage tax is the only tax they pay. If you however earn an income which has not been taxed yet, like freelance income, you may have to pay tax and thus file a tax return.

Brochure: Filing a tax return in the Netherlands

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Comments (2)
Comment by Tomris on Wed, Jun 21st, 2017 at 12:31 AM
After my tax calculation I needed to pay more instead of getting my tax refund. Someone knows what can cause this?
Comment by Arjan Enneman on Thu, Aug 10th, 2017 at 2:33 PM
There can be different causes like for example: 1. you have received additional income which was not taxed at source yet, 2. the tax credits have been calculated for a higher amount by your employer then should have been done (happens often in the year of migration), 3. in the tax return a pro rata reduction of the premiums social security is not requested in the year of migration, 4. amounts were not copied to the tax return correctly, 5. the tax authorities made a mistake when they prepared the tax assessment.
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