Global: Tax

  • A) National Taxation of Pensions
    • In Europe one often sees that due to the Reversal Rule by employer paid pension premiums are exempted from wages taxation. The own contribution is tax deductible. The pension annuity is taxed as of pension age. Taxation is therefore much later and often at a modest rate. If not all conditions are met, instant and total taxation including a stiff fine might materialize.
    • Each country can have certain limitiations on these kind of tax benefits. For example Holland has a maximum amount of pension earning wages.
    • Other countries have certain extentions of benefits:
      • For example the UK has the Lump Sum possibility to receive the total DC pension capital at once as of 2015 and as of age 55.
      • Furthermore the UK still has the 25% tax exemption.
      • As well as the QROPS possibility to transfer UK pension capital from the UK to a recognized location without taxation.
      • Expats who reside in Holland can apply for a 30% tax ruling. If granted they can i.e. receive 30% of their wages without tax. In general these 30% cannot be included in the pension earning wages. Only in specific instances it is allowed.
  • B) Double Taxation and Pensions
    • I.e. the country where the retirering expat resides is entitled to tax regardless of nationality/origin of pension. Many exceptions (often for governmental pensions) do exist.
    • It might prevent high tax claims by using international (mostly bilateral OESO based) double tax treaties and unilateral national regulations on double taxation.
    • Double tax treaties don’t create the right to tax. They regulate which country may implement existing national tax law.
    • Several countries like for example Holland have an extensive international network of bilateral double tax treaties. Use it to your advantage.
  • C) Double Taxation and Domicile Versus Residence


    When you live in country A and will receive pension pay-out from country B, you have the risk of double taxation. The home country will in general tax all global income but the country at source might also tax.

    In general this risk is reduced or prevented by Double Tax Treaties which stipulate which State has the right to tax and implement its already existing national tax law. For these kind of treaties the difference between ‘Domicile’ and ‘Residence’ is relevant.

    We will now explain the details.


    Domicile is the country in which a person has his official and permanent home. Or with which country he has a substantial social/family/financial connection.

    Several countries have know the ‘Deemed Domicile’ status. This means that even though a person did not live in that country, under certain circumstances their national tax authority can act as if that person did live in that country during a certain period. For example regarding inheritance tax when a person passed away.

    ‘Domicile of Choice’ means that as of a certain age, everyone has the ability to if so desired change his domicile.


    A person will be treated as a tax resident in case he stays in that country for at least 183 days per tax year. For example if an Expat working on a project stays for a longer period in another country.

    Domicile and Residence

    It is possible that an Expat has domicile in one country but is also resident in another country. These kind of situations are mentioned in the OECD Model Tax Treaty. Which is the basis for most Double Tax Treaties.

    The OECD Model Tax Treaty mentiones that an individual has domicile in the State in which he has the availability of a permanent home.

    If the individual has a permanent home available in neither State, he is considered to have domicile in the State in which he normally lives.

    If the individual normally lives in both States and he has availability of a permanent home in both States, he is considered to have domicile in the State with which he has the strongest personal and economic ties.

    When the State with which he has his strongest personal and economic ties cannot be determined, he has domicile in the State of which he is a national.

    Finally please note that not all Double Tax Treaties include the OECD standard approach. Thus it is always advisable to check the applicable clauses..

  • D) Split Tax Year

    A] Regular Tax Year

    Most countries start the new tax year as of January 1st.

    Only The UK start their new tax year as of April 4th.

    B] Split Tax Year

    As Expats often start new employment during the year, they will often meet the situation of having income in country A in the first part of the year and likewise in country B during the second part of the year.

    C] Tax Object: Domicile Versus Residential Taxation

    The switch in country where the Expat lives often changes his taxation.

    Certain tax benefits are only included for people who have their domicile in the country.

    Furthermore only the domicile country will tax the global income.

    D] Correct Tax Return

    If you as Expat have a split tax year in two countries, please make sure you use the correct Income Tax Return Form in each country.

  • E) Tax Risks

    Future Legal/Tax Regime?

    No one knows what the rules will be in the future. Some countries, like for example The UK, have a tendency to change the pension related legislation and not always in favor of the person entitled to pensions. Please take this uncertainty into account when planning ahead.

    Conflicting International Regimes?

    Expats often have pension claims in several countries. One of the most relevant aspects of pension optimization is to make sure you use all tax benefits. In that regard each country has its own rules. As we have seen many times that national regimes can conflict in a serious manner, please take this into account when planning ahead.

    For example: In Swiss certain pension pay-outs are Lump Sum based. Holland does not allow pension Lump Sum pay-out. Without additional attention this will result in the situation that a possibly substantial Swiss pension capital is not treated as such by Holland and could be taxed completely and up front at pay-out at a very high progressive tax rate.

    Risk versus Ruling?

    We sometimes hear from new clients that they know what a certain international tax situation constitutes as they have done their homework.

    We always stick to our own approach which means that we do our own research and prevent not needed risks. Regarding international tax issues this means that we in general ask the National Tax Authority to in writing agree with our view on a certain matter.

  • F) Global Taxation Americans

    A] Annual Tax Return

    The United States is only one of two countries that enforce citizen-based taxation. Every U.S. Citizen and Green Card Holder must annually report worldwide income and foreign financial accounts to the IRS. This includes income from pensions and private annuities.

    So U.S. Expats not only have to file taxes in their new country but need to also maintain their tax records in the U.S. Fines for non-compliance can be up to $10.000,- per year and jail time and there is no limitation period.

    For the average American expat this means:

    1) To file the annual income tax return if the annual income from work and assets exceeds rounded $ 9.500,-. Do the exact check yourself:

    2) A statement of non US bankaccounts (FBAR) in case the total of all these accounts amounts to more than $ 10.000,-.

    B] Fatca

    Finally due to the Fatca legislation of 2010, every Amercian is also obliged to inform the US government about each financial account over which he has authority. This not from a tax but from a compliance angle in order to prevent illegal savings, money laundering and financing terrorism.

    Feel free to ask which specialized and affordable US tax advisor we can recommend.

  • G) Expat Salary Split

    An international salary split means that the wages are taxable in more than one country.

    There are i.e. two different situations:

    • The expat works not only in his residence country but also in another country for more than 183 days.
    • Board Members with international responsibilities which is implemented by means of partially charging the wages to another intra concern company or by drafting a second employee contract.

    A salary split can be very attractive for an expat and his employer if the related employee contract, payroll, tax, social security and pension issues are handled correctly.

    A) Tax

    If the expat works not only in his residence country but also in other countries,.this in general means that his global wages are taxable in his residence country and the wages related to working in other countries are also taxable in those countries.

    The risk of double taxation is often (to some extent) prevented by international tax treaties and unilateral national tax regulations.

    For the average expat is relevant to what extent he works in other countries than his residence country. This distinction is less relevant for Board Members as treaties often stipulate that the Board Member’s wages are taxable in the country in which the related company resides.

    This makes the implementation of a salary split for such a Board Member less complex. Even though the split still has to acurately describe the actual situation. Which is often checked in a strict manner by national tax authorities.

    If the salary split is attractive for the expat this is often caused by differences in progressive tax rates and tax free sums per country.

    The conclusion is that if double taxation is totally prevented, then a salary split can be very interesting. Each situation has to be carefully checked to see if this is indeed the case. If not, a salary split might not be attractive at all.

    B) Pensions

    In order to be able to compare the differences in State/Corporate/Private Pension Coverage between countries, you have to compare all pension essentials:

    • Kind of systems
    • Kind of plans
    • Kind and amount of coverages
    • Kind of tax treatment
    • Maximum amount of tax benefits
    • Amount of related costs
    • Kind of investment possibilities
    • National policy towards international transfer of value
    • Mandatory or voluntary participation
    • Extent of flexibilization possibilities

    C) Conclusion

    The optimization of the salary split position of the expat requires an indepth look at all relevant aspects. Beware of generalizations.

  • H) Dutch Income Tax/Capital Gains Tax

    I] 3 Boxes

    The Dutch Income Tax consists of three main chapters:

    • Box 1: Tax regarding income and the own home;
    • Box 2: Tax regarding having a substantial interest in an entity;
    • Box 3: Capital (Gains) Tax.

    Box 1 regards all type of personal income/wages/profits which you have earned yourself and not by means of a Dutch Ltd. called BV. Furthermore it also includes the tax aspects related to an own home. Which includes tax deductible mortgage interest.

    Box 2 regards you if you have an interest of at least 5% of the shares of a registered company.

    Box 3 regards all your personal wealth besides your own home. Which includes Bank/Investment Accounts and a Second Home.

    II] 30% Tax Ruling

    Are you planning to work in The Netherlands temporarily? You may experience higher cost of living than you are used to because living expense here are higher than in your country.

    If so, your employer may compensate you for these so-called ‘extraterritorial costs’ untaxed. They may also choose to pay you 30% of your salary, extraterritorial costs included, tax-free.

    You qualify for the 30% facility if you meet all the following conditions:

    • You were recruited outside of the Netherlands or you were stationed here.
    • You are an employee.
    • You have a special skill or expertise which is hard to find on the Dutch labour market.
    • In the 2 years before your first working day in the Netherlands, you lived for more than 16 months outside the Netherlands and at least at 150 kilometres from the Dutch border.
    • You have a valid 30% facility decision. If you decide to stop working before the end of that period, your right to the 30% facility will end as well.
    • If granted, it is valid for a maximum 5 year period.

    III] Rates

    All three boxes have their own 2021 tax rate:

    Box 1: Not Yet Retired

    Taxable income                                              Rate   

    • € 0,- up to € 68.508,-                         37,10   %
    • As of € 68.508,-                                  49,50   %

    Box 1: Already Retired

    Taxable income                                              Rate   

    • € 0,- up to € 35.942,-                         19,20   %
    • € 35.942,- up to € 68.508,-               37,10   %
    • As of € 68.508,-                                  49,50   %

    Box 2:

    26,90% of the taxable result.

    Box 3:

    Taxable Wealth                                              Rate   

    • € 0,- up to € 50.000,-*                       0          %
    • € 50.001,- up to € 100.000,-             0,589   %
    • € 100.001,- up to € 950.000,-           1,395   %
    • As of € 950.000,-                                1,7639 %

    * € 100.000,- for a couple

    IV] Pensions/Private Annuity/30% Ruling

    On our site you will find the details about occupational and private pensions in chapter ‘Expat in Holland’ which is at the homepage on the left.

    Regarding this tax oversight we will only mention that the tax benefits regarding occupational pensions are much more substantial than regarding private pensions.

    Contrary to the private pension, the occupational pension can have a much higher build up percentage and the 30% ruling wages are included in the pension earning wages.

    V] Tax Returns

    The Dutch income tax return regarding year X has to be filled at the Dutch tax authority by using their standard forms and the latest at April 1st of the year X+1.

    VI] More Information

    For more detailed information, you can visit the English website of the Dutch Tax Authority.

    The following link provides all kind of valid information. Also regarding the situation if you have tax issues with another country besides The Netherlands:

  • I) Dutch Inheritance & Gifts Tax Law

    When Expats explore in which country to retire, the Inheritance & Gifts Tax Law exposure can be one of the relevant issues.

    We will now explain the esssence of the Dutch Inheritance & Gifts Tax Law.

    Dutch Inheritance Tax Law

    I] Object & Subject Taxation

    If you live in The Netherlands and are heir of a person living and passing away in The Netherlands with Dutch nationality, you can face Dutch inheritance tax exposure.

    The object of taxation can be a certain amount of capital or for example an entitlement to a house, company or other assets.

    II] Tax Exemptions


    The height of the 2021 threshold that is not taxed, depends on your relation to the person who passed away:

    • Husband/Wife/Registered Partner            € 671.910,-
    • (Grand)Child                                                  €   21.282,-
    • Great Grandchild                                          €     2.244,-
    • Child with disability                                      €   63.836,-
    • Parent                                                             €   50.397,-
    • Other Persons                                                €     2.244,-

    If the to be received amount exceeds the threshold, you only pay tax on the amount above the threshold.

    Next Of Kin Pensions/Private Annuities

    If your partner has passed away and you therefore receive Next Of Kin Pension or Private Annuities, these entitlements are not taxed in itself.

    However, 50% of the total future payments value will be used to decrease your one time general inheritance tax exemption.

    III] Tax Rates

    The 2021 rate is linked to the height and relation to the passed away person.

    Thus is has a double progression and regards the amount that exceeds the exemption:

    Value inheritance            Partner/Child            Great Grandchild       Other Persons

    • Up to € 128.750,-       10%                             18%                             30%
    • As of € 128.751,-        20%                             36%                             40%

    IV] Tax Return

    If an Executeur has been appointed, he will file the tax return for all heirs.

    If there is no Executeur, there are several options:

    • Each heir can file the tax return for himself;
    • Some heirs can file individually and some collectively;
    • The heirs decide one heir will file the collective tax return.

    The tax return has to be received by the Dutch tax authority within 8 month after the passing away date. In certain special cases, more time is available.

    V] To Receive An Inheritance From Abroad

    If you live in The Netherlands, you have no Dutch inheritance tax exposure if:

    • The value of your entitlement is equal or less than your Dutch exemption;
    • Or if the person who passed away was not Dutch;
    • Or if the person who passed away was Dutch but had lived for more than 10 years outside of The Netherlands.

    If you have to pay foreign inheritance tax exposure when the entitlement originates from another country than The Netherlands, depends on its national tax law.

    If you might face inheritance tax exposure in The Netherlands and in another country, then please check double tax treaties in order to prevent or mitigate double taxation.

    VI] Contact Dutch Tax Authority

    For more information you can call (in The Netherlands): 0800-235 83 54

    Or visit their website:

    Or visit this independent site:

    VII] Advice

    If you face Dutch inheritance tax exposure, we advise you to hire a specialist in order to protect your interests.

    Dutch Gifts Tax Law

    I] Object & Subject Taxation

    This tax exposure exists regarding the value of all gifts that one has received from another in The Netherlands living person.

    II] Tax Exemptions

    You have to distinguish the following situations:

    • If you receive cash from parents, there is an annual exemption of € 6.604,-.
    • Parents can give a onetime tax free amount of € 26.881,- between age 18-40.
    • Parents or someone else can give a onetime tax free amount of € 105.302,- if used for your own home.
    • Parents can give a onetime tax free amount of € 55.996,-,- if used for education.
    • Any other kind of gift is tax free up to annually € 3.244,-.

    Please notice that these exemptions do have certains strict conditions and limitations.

    III] Tax Rates

    The 2021 rate is linked to the height and relation to the person who has given the gift.

    Thus is has a double progression and regards the amount that exceeds the exemption:

    Value of Gift                    Partner/Child            Great Grandchild       Other Persons

    • Up to € 128.750,-       10%                             18%                             30%
    • As of € 128.751,-        20%                             36%                             40%

    IV] Tax Return

    If you like to use certain exemptions or if you have received more capital than the exempted amount, you do have to file a tax return.

    V] To Receive A Gift From Abroad

    If you have received a gift from abroad, you have to file a Dutch tax return if:

    • You live in The Netherlands and the person who gave the gift has the Dutch nationality and left The Netherlands less than 10 years ago.
    • You live in The Netherlands and the person who gave the gift does not have the Dutch nationality and left The Netherlands less than 1 year ago.

    VI] Contact Dutch Tax Authority

    For more information you can call (in The Netherlands): 0800-235 83 54

    Or visit their website:  Schenken en schenkbelasting (

    Or visit this independent site:

    VII] Advice

    If you face Dutch Gifts tax exposure, we advise you to hire a specialist in order to protect your interests.

  • J) Dutch Income Tax Calculator

    Feel free to use the following (only) indicative link in order to get an idea of the height of Dutch taxation:

  • K) Temporary Dutch Tax Exemption

    Persons who live for example in the UK and (will) receive Dutch State and/or Corporate and/or Private Pension pay-out, face in general taxation both in The UK and at source in The Netherlands. In order to prevent this, it is possible to request an exemption from Dutch Withholding Tax.

    If you fill-out the correct form* and include a formal statement from your residential tax authority stating that you fall under the realm of that national income tax regime, then you might receive the Dutch exemption.

    Please be aware that this exemption is in general only valid for a period of 5 years and that it is up to you to in time request a new exemption. The exact end date of the provided exemption is mentioned in the written tax ruling. It seems advisable to request the new exemption six months before that date.

    Finally if your circumstances might change during the provided exemption, you have the legal obligation to notify the Dutch Tax Authority.

    * This English form including an English explanation is enclosed on our website under the directory: News/Brochures/Forms. 

  • L) Income Tax Returns: Classification Foreign Pension Claims

    Expats often have Private and/or Occupational Pension Claims in other countries. In general they need to be included in the annual residential Income Tax Return.

    As the legal and tax regime At Source can be very different from the regime in the Residential Country, we will gladly assist you in determining the correct classification.

    Better be safe than sorry.

  • M) Conclusion
    • Before retirement expats should have checked the tax situation of each pension claim.
    • International optimalization of pension taxation is complex. It requires the advice from a specialist. It will be much cheaper than the cost of the lack thereof.
  • N) News April 2024

    A] Double Tax Treaty The Netherlands/Belgium

    This treaty has been signed in 2023 and replaces the former 2001 treaty.

    The new treaty is especially focused on solving existing issues involving teachers, professors, athletes and artists. In general teachers and professors who work in the other country will face taxation by the country in which they work.

    The new treaty  does unfortunately not result in a different approach for the taxation on pensions. That remains divers and complex.

    B] Double Tax Treaty The Netherlands/ Bangladesh

    This treaty has been signed in March 2024 and first requires national confirmation by the Parliament in both countries.

    Whereas the old treaty granted taxation on pensions to the residential country, the new treaty gives this authority to the source country. Which is quite a different approach!