Netherlands welcomes 2015 with over 60 new laws

As 2015 was ushered in across the Netherlands, 63 new laws and rules changes also came into effect. Amongst these are a minimum wage increase, changes to rules regarding temporary and permanent work contracts, a hike in cigarette taxes, a drop in the maximum allowable mortgage, a bumped up retirement age, and a rise in train costs.

Here follows a list of all the changes in law for this year, broken down into their relevant categories, according to statements released by the Dutch government, and compiled by the NL Times.

Work and Income

As of today the minimum wage increases. If you are 23 years or older, you are entitled to 1,501.80 euro per month for full-time employment. In 2014 the minimum wage was 1,495.20 euro.

There are stricter requirements for social assistance from today. For example, you must accept offered work or provide other consideration at the request of your municipality.

Some of the rules for the AOW pension will change this year. On April 1st the partner allowance for new entrants will expire. Cohabiting state pension recipients, including both home ownership or rental, gets 70% AOW. The state pension age also increases by one month to 65 years and 3 months. In 2023 the state pension age will be 67 years.

There are several changes to tax credits this year. If you have an income up to about 85 thousand euro, you will receive more income tax credit. Above that amount the credit decreases. The general tax credit also increases if you have an income up to 50 thousand euro. Above that amount you will get less credit.

As of today the labor costs regulation is required, which simplifies the payroll tax. As an employer you can then spend up to 1.2 percent of the total taxable wages on tax-free allowances for staff, such as Christmas hampers and bicycles.

The period for tax declarations also changed. From this year you can do your tax declaration from March 1st to May 1st. If you do your declaration before April 1st, you will receive an assessment from the Tax Service before July 1st and won't have to pay tax rent.

From today you can receive a larger amount of inheritance tax-free. As a partner, you only have to pay tax for amounts above 633,014 euro. This is an increase of over 5,600 euro compared to 2014. Children and grandchildren can receive 179 euro more inheritance. They will pay inheritance tax for amounts above 20,074 euro.

The work bonus expires today if you are younger than 61 years old. If you are currently 61 years or older, you continue to be eligible for this tax credit. The work bonus will be completely void from 2018.

If you live abroad and you earn (part of) your income in the Netherlands, the same deductions, tax credits and tax free allowance that applies for other Dutch citizens also applies for you. The condition for this so-called rule qualifying foreign tax liability is that you pay tax for at least 90 percent of your income in the Netherlands.

The rules concerning temporary employment contracts change as of today. The work and security law ensures that freelancers can be treated as a permanent employee as much as possible.

The IOAW benefit for older unemployed people will be gradually phased out from today. If you were born before 1965, you may still be entitled to this benefit.

From today the top incomes for government executives are reduced so that they can not get more than a minister salary. This is in the Top Incomes Standards Act. This law also applies to salaries in the semi-public organisations such as hospitals, schools and public broadcasters.

Family

From today you as parent can still make use of 4 child arrangements: the child allowance, the child budget, the income related combination tax credit and the child care allowance.

From today you are entitled to 3 days parental leave if you are in paid employment and your wife/partner had a newborn child. This is in addition to the current 2 days paid maternity leave.

All fixed alimony sums are increasing 0.8 percent today.

Are you adopting a child or taking a foster child in to your family? Then you are entitled to adoption and foster care leave. From today this leave can be taken spread out in consultation with your employer. It used to be 4 consecutive weeks.

Home

The basic VAT rate of 6 percent for expanding a house older than 2 years has been extended to apply until July 1st of this year. This rate applies to labor in renovation and repair of your home and garden maintenance.

Today the temporarily increased exemption of 100 thousand euro for the gift tax for the purchase, conversion or repayment of own home expires. The new exemption for gift tax is 52,752 euro. This applies if you as parent give your children (aged between 18 and 40 years) money and they spend the money on their own home.

If your old home is still for sale and you already have a new home, you may deduct the interest for the still vacant old or still vacant new home from tax for up to 3 years. This relocation scheme takes effect today.

The temporarily extended selling period of 36 months for transfer tax, which was intended to stimulate the housing market, lapses today. The old term of 6 months is again in effect.

There are some changes in the rules for mortgages this year. From today you can only close another mortgage to 103 percent of your own house. The maximum tax deduction of mortgage interest also decreases to 51 percent in the highest tax bracket.

Are you selling your home at a loss? From today you can deduct the interest and financing costs for that remaining debt for 5 years longer. This means that you can deduct for a maximum of 15 years and do not have to repay the loan in that period. This applies to residual debts incurred between October 29th, 2012 and December 31st, 2017.

From today all homeowners will get a temporary energy label. The label indicates how energy efficient your home is and how you can save energy. The energy label is required if you want to sell or rent out your home.

From today there are stricter energy requirements for new houses and other buildings, such as offices. The goal is that offices be energy neutral by 2020 and generate as much energy as they consume.

This year you can get up to 9 thousand euro more mortgage if you co-finance energy saving measures such as insulation or energy efficient windows. From today you can also get a higher mortgage if you buy an energy efficient home. You may borrow an additional 25 thousand euro if you buy a "zero-on-the-meter-home".

The liberalization boundary, which defines the difference between social rent and free sector, is 710.68 euro as of today. It used to be 699.48 euro. This is also the limit for housing allowance. The income limit for social rent housing increased from 34,678 euro to 34,991 euro.

From today you as an individual can participate in online bidding at the forced sale of a home (foreclosure home). This decreases the likelihood that homes are sold below market value and gives you as individual more options at the auction.

Healthcare

There are some changes in long-term care this year. The government in is making it possible for people to live independently as long as possible. For this reason long-term care will be handled differently as of today. This was necessary to reduce the very expensive costs of the care.

The central government stopped the financial support for carers - the care compliment. From today the position of carers are changing and municipalities determine how they fill their appreciation for caregivers.

The basic package for health insurance changes. District nursing, among others, is added. The compulsory own risk increases with 15 euro to 375 euro for this year.

The healthcare benefit change as of today. People with low incomes now get a higher supplement. Other groups get a lower supplement or sometimes no more healthcare benefits.

Parents with a foster child will receive a reimbursement from the government for the care and education of that child. From today the allowance for foster care increases by about 5 euro per month.

Disabled young people will only get a Wajong-benefit if they are permanently disabled.

If you use your company car for private use for more than 500 kilometers per year, you get an additional tax of 25% of the value of the car for the private use. Only fully electric cars still qualify for the lowest rate of 4 percent.

As of today the excise tax on gasoline and (LPG) gas increases by 1 percent to 77 cents for casoline and 33 cents for LPG and natural gas.

Consumer Affairs

Smoking is becoming more expensive. As of today the excise duty on tobacco increases by 9 cents for a pack of cigarettes of 19 pieces and a pack of tobacco of 40 grams.

A passport or identity card is 20 cents more expensive this year. You will pay a maximum of 61.11 euro for a passport or 53.07 euro for an identity card. For children under 18 years a passport will cost 52.20 euro and an identity card 28.48 euro. The municipality determines the exact amount.

This year you pay 30% less copying levy when purchasing CD's, smartphones and computers. The levy compensates authors and artists for copying music and movies.

As of today the legal interest for consumers drops from 3 percent to 2 percent.

From today municipalities may collect milk cartons and other packaging cartons separately. The packaging can then be reused.

This year there later trains during the weekend, more and better travel information and enough space in passenger trains. These are some of the changes that NS and ProRail are making from today to increase the quality of train travel.

Are you importing a kitten or puppy? These animals may only enter the Netherlands if they are at least 15 weeks old, to prevent rabies. As of December 29th, 2014 a rabies vaccination is also mandatory.

Business

From today you can have the VAT refund transferred to another bank account, such as the account of an affiliated company. The tax authority is no longer required to pay the refund to your personal account.

Are you working abroad and received a fine? That foreign fine is no longer deductible from income tax in the Netherlands.

Are you a provider of gambling such as lottery or bingo? From today you have to point out the risks of gambling with an effective slogan.

The exemption for gambling tax drops to 449 euro today.

From today the government increases the commodity boards and industrial boards. Entrepreneurs now have to arrange their own interests. The welfare conditions of the Product Board for Poultry and Eggs pass into national legislation.

From April 1st this year there will be stricter rules against manure fraud. Farmers will only be allowed to transport manure in electronically traceable containers.

The government wants to attract more start-ups to the Netherlands. From today entrepreneurs from outside the European Union receives a residence permit for one year.

From today there are simpler rules for taxi drivers. Taxis may run unlimited night services in entertainment areas. Taxi drivers may also shorten their rest times from 10 hours to 8 hours per day 3 times every 2 weeks.

There is a VAT exemption for the nursing and care of persons in non-profit establishments. From today the VAT exemption also applies to commercial healthcare organizations.

Companies that invest in innovative vocational education can obtain a subsidy for it. This month the new application round for the Regional Investment Fund starts. The government thus promotes a better connection of secondary vocational education in the labor market.

Jurisdiction

This year if you are arrested by the police, you will receive a folder at the police station containing your rights as a suspect.

From this year catalogs, manuals, schedules, theater programs and directories are no longer under the Copyright Act. The copyright only applies to texts with which the author provides a creative achievement.

The supervision on lawyers is being revised. Today a new independent board of supervision is starting at the Netherlands Bar Association.

From today you will pay 0.8 percent more for a traffic violation.

Do you work as a volunteer with minors or people with intellectual disabilities? From today you can apply for a free digital Certificate of Good Behavior from he government service Justis. The goal is to prevent sexually deviant behavior in voluntary work.

Aggression or violence against a employ with a public duty will be punished swiftly and severely this year. Someone who attacks a police officer, ambulance worker or teacher, will be taken into custody more quickly. This makes summary and fast law possible.

From today repeat offenders in traffic will be handled more severely. Road users who offend repeatedly will loose their license sooner. Offenders will also get a note on their records instead of an anonymous fine.

As of today there is a stricter approach to money laundering and corruption. The maximum prison sentence for money laundering increases from 4 to 6 years.

Education and Research

From this year all students in grade 8 of basic education will be required to take a final test. This test will measure the knowledge of language and mathematics.

This year primary schools are responsible for outside maintenance and modifications to school buildings. Before this was the municipalities' responsibility.

From 2015 the government will offer an extra 50 million euros for scientists who bring in European research money.

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