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My partner has no income, is she entitled to a refund or tax credit?

General tax credit

Under certain conditions taxpayers can be eligible for the so called general tax credit. This is a tax credit on the calculated income tax or wage tax. Due to this credit you pay less tax.

The tax credit is already taken into calculation by the employer or social security organisation. If your partner doesn't receive an income the tax credit is not automatically granted. In that case it is necessary to request the tax authorities directly to reimburse the tax credit to your partner. This can be done if you have paid enough tax to support the tax credit. So in the Netherlands each person is taxed individually, but to determine whether tax credits can be claimed it is necessary to look at the income details of both (fiscal) partners.

The general tax credit is a fixed amount. After official retirement age it will become lower. Since 2009 the payment to the partner who doesn't receive (sufficient) income is reduced annually. This happens over a period of 15 years.

The calculation of the reduction has been changed during the recent years. This means that for example for the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 the reduction is calculated in a different way. The reduction depends on date of birth and since 2014 also on the income earned. If Expatax prepares your tax return the correct amount will be calculated.

Conditions to qualify for direct payment by the tax authorities

To qualify for the general tax credit you must satisfy the following conditions:

  • you and your partner are fiscal partners;
  • you are liable to tax (registered with the Dutch tax authorities);
  • you don't have (sufficient) income;
  • your partner pays sufficient tax.

Claim the general tax credit
The general tax credit can be claimed in the annual income tax return (for previous years) or by filing a request for a provisional refund (for the current or next year).
Expatax can assist you with claiming the tax credit.
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Comments (15)
Comment by gaurav mittal on Tue, Jul 2nd, 2013 at 12:55 PM
i just moved to netherland, my spouse is not working here. should i get the benefit of tax credit, if yes, how?
Comment by arjan enneman on Sat, Aug 31st, 2013 at 5:59 PM
your spouse can normally claim the tax credit. this can be done in the annual income tax return. expatax can arrange this for you once the 2013 tax return can be filed next year.
Comment by Pramod Salunkhe on Mon, Sep 8th, 2014 at 1:59 PM
Dear Arjan,I am working in Netherlands since May 2011. My wife joined me in Netherlands on Jan 2013
Comment by Arjan Enneman on Wed, Sep 10th, 2014 at 5:44 PM
@Pramod. It is possible to file a tax return for your wife for 2013 to claim back the tax credit. For 2014 a request for a provisional refund can be filed (since the year has not finished yet) or you wait till the 2014 tax return can be filed. Advantage of the provisional request is that it only has to be filed once and automatically continues each year (more cost effective). See
Comment by Subhash Peri on Sun, Sep 14th, 2014 at 10:20 PM
Hi Pramod,Yes, If your wife is a full year resident for the year 2013, socially secured in NL the whole year and not employed, she is entitled to receive the General Levy Rebate (algemene heffingskorting) which can result in a maximum refund of 2001 Euros. Further as Arjan as advised, try for the provisional request process, it continues for each year and is cost effective.
Comment by Ben on Thu, Feb 19th, 2015 at 4:00 PM
My girlfriend joined me in the Netherlands in June 2014. If I add her name under my pension, would it be possible to retrospectively name her as my fiscal partner for the 2014 income tax assessment so that we may claim the credit?
Comment by Piyuesh Modi on Fri, Dec 4th, 2015 at 9:17 PM
Hi...My Wife came for an onsite project in Netherland on 13 May 2015 and is still working. I joined her on 20 July 2015 and we both are here since then. Please guide me with this tax benefit process. I am done with my digiid as well. Do I have to contact someone to get it done or is it OK to file a zero income tax return for myself at ? If yes then I am confused whether I have to file tax for 2014 or 15 or 16 ? :(
Comment by Arjan Enneman on Thu, Dec 24th, 2015 at 2:48 PM
The 2015 tax return can be filed early next year. I don‘t know if the M form (which must be filed in the year of migration) can be filed on Up to 2014 the M form could only be filed on paper but as of 2015 it will also become available electronically but I am not sure whether it will work already. For 2014 you don‘t have to file a tax return if you were not in the Netherlands that year. Expatax can always help you with a tax return, see
Comment by Carla on Wed, Sep 28th, 2016 at 12:09 PM
Hello, I moved to Netherlands with my family (husband + child) on January 2016 following my job, I am full time employed but my husband is not working: would he be eligible to claim tax credit? Thank you
Comment by Arjan Enneman on Fri, Dec 30th, 2016 at 3:28 PM
Yes, if you are employed your husband is entitled to the personal tax credit.
Comment by KV on Wed, Mar 1st, 2017 at 8:10 PM
Is the tax credit available for spouse of employee already benefiting from 30% tax ruling? Please confirm. Thank you.
Comment by Ruchi Vaswani on Thu, Mar 2nd, 2017 at 10:24 AM
Hi. I arrived in the Netherlands on 9th august 2015 and was unemployed until 15th february 2016. Am I eligible for a refund for the year 2015 even though I was not living in the Netherlands for the entire year or am I only eligible to receive a refund for 2016?
Comment by Nimco Abdullahi on Mon, Mar 13th, 2017 at 12:13 PM
Hi, I want to know if I am fiscal partner. Me and my partner are joining residents in the same address. Also can I apply tax previous years because we have being living together since 2015. Am I allowed to get the tax return if my partner was unemployed for sometime last year. Is the tax return fixed amount or depend my partner tax
Comment by Arjan Enneman on Sat, Jul 8th, 2017 at 10:19 AM
The personal tax credit for the partner without (sufficient) income is also applicable if the partner who has an income is benefiting from the 30% ruling.
Comment by Arjan Enneman on Sat, Jul 8th, 2017 at 10:41 AM
To receive the tax credit as a partner without income you must be fiscal partners. Search on "fiscal partnership" in the knowledge base for the conditions to be fiscal partners.
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