150 kilometer

30% tax ruling: 150 kilometer condition

30% ruling: Did you live more than 150 kilometer from here?

You are only eligible for the 30% tax ruling if you were recruited from abroad. This means that in order to qualify you should live outside the Netherlands at the time of your first contact with your new employer and also the time between your arrival in the Netherlands and your first workday should not be too long. In 2012 the rules have been changed so that in order to get the 30% ruling your place of residence should be at least 150 kilometer from the nearest border to the Netherlands for more than 16 out of the last 24 months before you start working. For PhD’s, there is an exception to this rule that you can read about on this page. Here you find the other (general) conditions of the 30% ruling. Below more about the 150 kilometer requirement of the Netherlands 30% ruling.

The 150 kilometer distance is measured in a straight line (“as the crow flies”). You can make a circle with a radius of 150 kilometer around the Dutch border area nearest to your place of residence before coming to Holland to see if you meet the 150 kilometer condition for the 30% tax ruling.

Are Belgium, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, Germany and France more than 150 kilometer away?

Employees coming from Belgium and Luxembourg do not meet the 150 kilometer condition of the 30% ruling. Residents of almost the entire United Kingdom meet this condition, except people living in the very South East of England (to the east of Canterbury, e.g. Dover). So people coming from London are able to get the 30% ruling if they come to work in Holland. A lot of people from Germany do not qualify. In the north you should live almost as far east as Hamburg. In the middle almost as east as Hannover and Kassel. And in the south almost as east as Wiesbaden and Frankfurt am Main. In the very south people in the regions Kaiserslautern and Saarbrücken do qualify.

Also people from the very North of France do not automatically qualify. People from the region of Metz qualify (people living no more north than Thionville). People from the region or Rethel just qualify. The cities of Reims and Saint-Quentin qualify. In the North West, people that live in or south of Amiens, Abbeville and Berck qualify.

PhD’s and the 150 kilometer rule of the 30% tax ruling

The 150 kilometer requirement works a bit differently for PhD’s. So if you were in the Netherlands to obtain your PhD, you may still qualify for the 30% ruling. You should start working within one year of finishing your PhD. There is a 150 kilometer condition that is similar to the one explained above. However, for a PhD the rule is that you should meet the 150 kilometer condition before the start of their PhD.

If you were already working in the Netherlands before obtaining your PhD, you in principle do not qualify for the 30% ruling. However, if you took the job to fund your promotion, you can still qualify. Also if you were hired before your promotion and for your employer your future PhD title was (one of) the reasons for hiring you, you can still qualify. The validity period of the 30% ruling will only commence at the moment of obtaining your PhD title.

The 150 kilometer requirement of the 30% ruling and EU law

Is It against EU law that people from within the range of 150 kilometers of the Dutch border are excluded from the 30% tax ruling? Is this not discriminatory? This is the question raised in the Sopora case.

Mr Sopora lived in Germany, less than 150 kilometer from the Dutch border. Because of this, he could not obtain the 30% ruling. He went to the Dutch court pleading that this was discrimination based on nationality as mostly Germans, Belgians, Luxembourgers, Frenchmen and some Englishmen are affected. It eventually led to the EU court of Justice giving its opinion.

The EU court of justice found that the 150 kilometer requirement of the 30% ruling is in accordance with EU law. The fact that limits are set concerning the distance in relation to the worker’s place of residence and concerning the ceiling of the exempted amount, is not in itself a discrimination or an impediment of the free movement of workers. Especially when the rule operates in favour of workers who benefit from it, as it significantly reduces administrative steps to be taken in order to obtain a tax exemption of the reimbursement of extraterritorial expenses. However, the EU court of justice have asked the Dutch supreme court to investigate further if the limits are set in such a way that the flat-rate (30%) rule systematically gives rise to a net overcompensation of the extraterritorial expenses actually incurred. If so, it may be that the rule is not in accordance with EU law. It is expected that the Dutch Supreme Court will rule that the 150 kilometer requirement of the 30% ruling is not discriminatory or an impediment of the free movement of workers.