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Dutch News
European court asked to assess Dutch 30% ruling changes 8/11/2013
Revised rules for the 30% expat ruling are to be tested in the European court of justice, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Saturday.
The Dutch High Court said on Friday that the requirement that an expat should have lived 150 kilometres from the Dutch border to qualify for the tax break need to be assessed at a European level. The 150 kilometre limit appeared to be arbitary, the court said, and had led to divided opinion in lower Dutch courts.
The eligibility rules for the tax break, which effectively means expats only pay income tax on 70% of their income, were tightened up at the beginning of last year. The aim of the tax cut is to compensate workers for the higher cost of working in the Netherlands on a temporary basis.
The changes were introduced because of finance ministry concerns that the ruling was being exploited. It can be claimed for up to eight years
In order to qualify, expats must now have lived at least 150 kilometres from the Dutch border before moving to the Netherlands. They should also have a Dutch salary of at least €52,000 if over the age of 30 and have specific skills not available in the Netherlands. Different salary requirements apply to academics.
The High Court said the 150 kilometre limit lead to workers being treated differently depending on where they came from, and that this could conflict with European rules on the free movement of people.

The Financieele Dagblad said the case has been brought by tax consultancy Deloitte on behalf of a client who had to live and work in the Netherlands during the week for a temporary period but is permanently based in Germany.

Under European law she has to pay tax in the country where she works but because she lives less than 150 kilometres from the border, she is not entitled to the 30% ruling.
Tax experts said at the time the new rules were introduced that they would be challenged at a European level because people from Belgium and large parts of Germany would not qualify.

Foreign students are keen on Dutch universities, but few study science

Dutch universities are the third most popular in Europe with foreign students, both from elsewhere in Europe and further afield, according to research by website StudyPortals. In particular, Greek, British, Indian, German and American students are keen on a move to the Netherlands, the research shows. Britain and Germany are the most popular locations for people wishing to study abroad. Nevertheless, the research also shows that interest in studying in the Netherlands has grown less sharply than the interest in studying in a different European university as a whole. This may be because other countries are now organising more courses in English, the organisation says. Science The Dutch government last month agreed to do more to retain foreign students and highly-skilled migrants, saying this will boost the Netherlands’ prosperity, its economy and Dutch higher education in general. In particular, the efforts will focus on attracting science and technology students, ministers agreed.According to the StudyPortal research, some 80% of foreign students in the Netherlands opt for a non-science degree and only 15% of Dutch students who study abroad opt for science and technology. In Germany, by contrast, four in 10 foreign students take a technical subject. Business and economics are the most popular subjects for foreign students in the Netherlands. Figures published earlier by the government’s macro-economic think-tank CPB show that if one in five foreign students stays in the country, the Netherlands would earn €740m a year from them. StudyPortals bases its research on visits to its websites.

''Single mothers pressured to name the fathers for child support claims''

Single mothers in several cities are being pressured by officials to reveal the name of their children’s fathers, so they can be made to pay child support, the Volkskrant reports on Friday. Experiments with trying to trace unnamed fathers are also under way in Zwolle and Maastricht, the paper says. Last year, 250 women in Rotterdam named the fathers of their children after being asked by officials. Councils hope to save money by making fathers pay towards the upkeep of their children. ‘But it is most of all about getting fathers to take responsibility for their children,’ a Rotterdam council spokesman told the paper. Birth certificate In law, biological fathers are legally required to support their children even if they are not named on the birth certificate. Councils base their financial claims on the word of the mother and have gone to court to force fathers to pay. One man in Rotterdam, named by the paper as Eric van Deurzen, says he has been ordered to pay €486 a month in child support for his ex-girlfriend’s three children, even though she was a mother to two of them when they met and he is certain the third is not his. Legal experts told the paper fatherhood needs to be legally established before payment can be requested. This did not happen in Van Deurzen’s case, and the council told the Volkskrant jurisprudence shows this is not legally necessary.

Ban pickpockets from city centre, says VVD

The mayor of Amsterdam should negotiate an international city ban with other European cities for pickpockets who remain active after they have served their sentence. The call comes from the right-wing liberal VVD in Amsterdam and follows the sentencing of pickpockets arrested during the Gay Pride week, some of whom were subsequently found to have previous records for the same offence. Police arrested 47 pickpockets during Gay Pride, 42 of whom were from Romania. Most of them have already been in court and were given sentences of up to 10 weeks. The public prosecution department told the Telegraaf it was disappointed the sentences were not tougher. It had asked for up to six months. ''We had hoped an event like Gay Pride would act as an aggravating factor, but the judge did not agree,'' a spokesman told the paper. The Amsterdam VVD says pickpocketing has increased alarmingly over the past few years. In 2012, it went up by 36%. Romanians are over-represented in this form of criminality, the party says. It is now calling for action. ''We want the mayor to officially recognise pickpocketing as a priority,'' a spokesman told the Volkskrant. They want an ''area ban'' for known pickpockets to keep them out of the centre, extra police to tackle the problem and an agreement with other European cities to take firm action.

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