Tax in the Netherlands

Dutch tax returns

You may have received a blue envelope from the tax authorities asking you to file your tax return. Expatax can prepare your tax return for you. Because we prepare several thousand tax returns every year, we are more than familiar with all kinds of situations expats may face. Tax returns for 2018 and previous years can be filed, up to 5 years back. 

If you haven’t received a blue envelope, the question is whether you need to file a tax return. In our Knowledge Base you can read about in which cases it is still smart to do so.

Provisional refund

If you have income in the Netherlands that is subject to wage tax, your employer deducts wage tax from your salary. This deduction does not take into account your deductible items and some tax credits. If, for example, you have deductible items, then the wage tax withheld from your salary is in excess of what you owe as income tax and national insurance contributions. Once the tax year has ended, you can receive a refund of the excess amount withheld by filling in an income tax return. But you can also obtain a refund before this. You can ask the tax authorities to pay to you the excess amount withheld from your wage in monthly instalments. The same applies if you receive a pension or benefits from a (public) organisation.

Based on the information you provide on the form, the tax authorities calculate how much you will probably have to pay. In addition, the tax authorities calculate the amount in wage tax that your employer will supposedly deduct from your salary. The difference between these two amounts is the amount you receive from the tax authorities: your provisional (or preliminary) refund. You will receive the provisional refund during the year in monthly instalments. The tax authorities will only award a provisional refund if enough Dutch wage tax is withheld.

For which tax credits can a provisional refund be obtained?

You can request a provisional refund for the following deductible items:

  • public transport commuting deduction;
  • deduction for the owner-occupied home that is your main residence (the mortgage interest);
  • premiums towards an annuity and other income provision;
  • off settable losses in previous calendar years from work and home;
  • medical expenses and other exceptional expenses;
  • expenses for weekend visits by seriously handicapped children;
  • study costs and other educational expenses;
  • expenses for protected or listed buildings;
  • donations;
  • alimony and other maintenance obligations;
  • remission of venture capital investments.

Tax allowances

Depending on your personal financial and family situation; you may be entitled to certain tax allowances such as healthcare allowance (zorgtoeslag), home rental allowance (huurtoeslag) and the child budget allowance (kindgebonden budget).