30% tax exemption for expatriates

The Netherlands has a special tax regime for expatriates.

This so-called ‘30% expat ruling’ is viewed as a reimbursement for the extra costs of working and living abroad in the Netherlands.

It provides an income tax exemption of up to 30%, for a period of up to 96 months.

At Dolk Hesper we help foreign companies to hire their first staff upon start-up in the Netherlands. Often, the first staff is sent out from their own country before hiring local staff. In this process to obtain a tax ruling we work together with several experienced labour and tax lawyers.

In this blogpost, we want to share our understanding of how the 30% tax exemption for expatriates works:

According to this rule, the employer may grant the employee a tax-free allowance of up to a maximum of 30% of his or her remuneration. The remuneration includes incidental and flexible forms of income such as bonus payments and stock options. Termination and pension payments are excluded.

In order to qualify for the 30% expat ruling, the following conditions must be met:

  1. The employer must make a reasonable case that the employee possesses specific expertise that is not available, or is scarce in the Dutch labour market, by meeting the following minimum taxable income levels:
  • minimum gross income of € 50,000 (general requirement)
  • minimum gross income of € 38,007 for masters (MSc) and doctorates (PhD) under 30
  • no minimum income level for scientists and researchers


  1. The employee must be recruited from abroad, and the employer must be a Dutch wage tax-withholding agent. The exemption is available for a period of 8 years (96 months). After a period of five years, the tax authorities can request that the employer demonstrate that the employee still meets the conditions.
  1. Employer and employee have to agree in writing that the 30 percent ruling is applicable.
  2. The employee has to be transferred from abroad to a Dutch employer or has to be recruited from abroad by a Dutch employer;
  3. The employee did not reside within 150 kilometres from the Dutch border for the last 18 out of 24 months at the time of hiring;

What to do?

Check if you as employer and your employee would meet the above requirements and consult with a Dutch tax lawyer with expertise on the expat ruling to obtain the ruling from the tax authorities

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