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I spend 80% of my time outside the Netherlands for work. Can I get a refund in NL?


I am a consultant employed by a Dutch company in the Netherlands. I work 80% outside the country. I have heard that I can therefore benefit from a tax return.

Could you please confirm whether this is possible? 


You are currently employed by a company in the Netherlands based on a Dutch employment contract. Your employer will have you on the Dutch payroll the entire year. Since you are living in the Netherlands you are taxed here on your world wide income, including income earned while abroad. This is only different if the country where you work has the right to tax the salary earned while you are there. 
Relevant here is whether you spend all the time outside the Netherlands in one country or in several countries. If it concerns one country then you should normally be on a split payroll whereby your employer sets up a payroll for you in the other country. This way your salary is automatically divided over the two countries by your employer. Be aware though that if you have the 30% ruling, it can only be used on your Dutch income. Since a split payroll is complicated not all employers are eager to do this. With an A1 declaration social security rights can be kept in the Netherlands.  
If there is no split payroll you can claim an exemption in your tax return based on the applicable tax treaty. This will only be possible if the stay outside the Netherlands in a specific country was considerable, not just a couple of days or weeks. Most tax treaties for example contain a so called 183 days ruling, which states that you are only taxable in the other country if you stayed there more than 183 days in a year. The Dutch tax authorities can also require proof that you actually declared your income in the other country to prevent that you claim an exemption in the Netherlands and don‘t pay tax in another country. 
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