Nearly 60 Netherlands law changes take effect in 2016

The Binnenhof
. Binnenhof, The Hague (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/F.Eveleens)

A total of 57 law changes will go into effect in 2016. Significant laws will come into play that affect everything from tax payouts, crowd funding & crowd financing, daycare subsidies and even a new language requirements for welfare benefits.

The Dutch government published their annual roundup of the new laws on Christmas Eve. They were broken down into eight categories. The NL Times reduced this to seven, as the category "Environment" was largely a collection of items that existed in other categories. Likewise, duplicates have been removed where necessary.

Work & Income (14 rules changes)

  • Language knowledge will be mandatory for welfare benefits
  • Severance payments are increased
  • Unemployment benefits are capped at 24 months
  • Pensions for self-employed people will be protected if they require welfare benefits
  • The retirement age will be increased
  • Application for exemptions to retirement age may be requested a year earlier
  • Benefits of €320 per month to Jewish victims of World War 2 will be tax free
  • Multiple modifications to tax discounts;
  • Lower payroll and income tax for those in box 2 and 3
  • Reduced tax on savings
  • End of salary savings exemption scheme
  • Changes to survivor’s benefits for those with a household partner
  • Employment taxes will be simplified
  • Employers must use new tax rates for some fringe benefit payouts

Entrepreneurship (4 rules changes)

  • More opportunities will be legal to crowdfund and crowd-finance ventures
  • Acquiring legitimate business in fraudulent schemes and scams is a criminal offence
  • Freelancer background check statements will likely disappear by April 1
  • Research and development costs will be easier to deduct from taxes

Children (7 rules changes)

  • Daycare and after school care
  • Supplementary child benefits will increase for the first time in four years
  • Additional kinderbijslag child benefit also rises for the first time since 2012
  • Cost of tuition is not taxable for children who qualify for study financing
  • Foster parents will get an increase in childcare and education payments
  • Mandatory parental contributions to child social services are banned
  • Tutoring and practical trainings are incorporated into the education system

Living (10 rules changes)

  • Mortgages are capped at 102 percent of the owner-occupied home value
  • Dual-income households may borrow more money to buy a house
  • Maximum mortgage interest tax deduction is 50.5 percent
  • Owners of an energy-neutral home qualify for higher mortgages
  • Income limit for social housing will go up
  • The income ceiling for social housing rent is capped for three years
  • Energy efficiency subsidies are available for solar water heaters, geothermal heat pumps, biomass boilers and wood pellet stoves
  • Removing asbestos from ceilings will qualify for government assistance
  • A discount on the energy tax is available when you generate sustainable power with others
  • The energy tax is on the rise

Care & Health (10 rules changes)

  • Changes to the basic health care insurance package include more coverage
  • Basic health insurance deductibles rise by 10 euro to 385 euro
  • Health care benefits go up by 58 euro for singles, and 114 for couples
  • Foster parents will see more cash for child healthcare
  • Unknown changes will be made to long-term care personal contributions
  • After-hours pharmacies may no charge no more than 45 euro per prescription
  • A new legal definition of quality healthcare and care dispute resolution takes effect
  • Employer contribution to the health insurance fund go down to 6.75 percent
  • Entrepreneur, freelancer and retiree contribution to health insurance fund goes up to 5.5 percent
  • Health insurers will provide more compensation to the chronically sick

Consumer issues (7 rules changes)

  • The price of passports and identity cards will go down
  • Everyone will get a personal inbox for digital messages from the government
  • A new test will begin for deposits and refunds on small plastic bottles
  • Free plastic bags at checkout counters are banned
  • Excise tax on tobacco will go up
  • There will no longer be multiple taxes for alcohol-free drinks
  • Victims of crimes will get more privacy protection from the justice system

Traffic & Transport (5 rules changes)

  • Hybrid car owners will have to pay the same road tax as everyone else
  • Road tax no longer has to be paid annually
  • Additional tax for company cars used privately will start at 4 percent of the new price of the most efficient cars, to 25 percent of the price of less efficient cars.
  • Car and motorcycle tax rates to change based on CO2 emissions
  • High-speed E-bikes will qualify for the moped license plates free of charge

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