30% ruling for a returning expat – how is the 25 year period calculated?

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Question:

I am a Dutch national, and I will be returning to the Netherlands after 22 years of continuous expat life. Before leaving, I was a student. Assuming I meet the criteria, will the duration of the ruling be reduced by 25-22=3 years, ie from 5 to 2 years ?

Answer:

Unfortunately the situation for you is worse. 

The duration of the ruling will be reduced with:

  • the periods of stay or work in the Netherlands during the 25 years before the date of arrival in the Netherlands, but alsow with 
  • the periods of stay and work in the Netherlands which started more than 25 years before the date of arrival in the Netherlands and ended less than 25 years before the date of arrival in the Netherlands.

The second point means that in your situation the entire period between your birth in the Netherlands and the date you left the Netherlands will be taken from the maximum duration of the ruling of 5 years. Due to this the duration will be reduced to zero.

The reason to increase the period of required stay and work outside the Netherlands from 10 to 25 years from 1 January 2012 was specifically focused on situations like yours. National media came with the “news” that also Dutch nationals could benefit from this expat benefit. The media focused on nationality instead of looking at the background of the ruling. Media did not understand that Dutch expats would return to the Netherlands for other reasons then just to benefit from the 30% ruling, for example because they were specifically recruited from abroad for a certain job in the Netherlands.

In your case, after 22 years one can imagine that you have moved the center of your life outside the Netherlands. 

However, the Dutch government went with the story and decided to change the ruling. They could not exclude Dutch nationals from the 30% ruling, since that would be discrimination based on nationality and thus decided to increase the required period of stay outside the Netherlands dramatically. Whether the intentions of the government were valid remains to be seen, but unfortunaly nothing could be done against their decision to increase the period.