What is the 30% ruling?

The 30 percent ruling is a tax exemption available for international employees who move to the Netherlands or expats who currently work in the Netherlands. You need the Dutch Tax Office’s permission to apply for this tax exemption. To obtain this permission, both you and your employer should submit an application and meet the conditions laid out below.

Income norm as measure of scarcely available skills

For an employee with scarcely available skills or with specific knowledge not available on the Dutch labor market, the 30% ruling facility can be applied for. For practical reasons, the Dutch tax office presumes an employee’s specialty or scarcity if the gross salary before applying the 30% tax free reimbursement in the Netherlands is at least meeting a taxable income norm.

Condition 30% ruling

The 30% ruling applies to you if you were recruited or seconded from outside the Netherlands to work in this country. The following conditions apply:

  • You are recruited outside a 150-km zone of the Dutch border (*).
  • You have a taxable income - before applying the 30 percent benefit - of at least tax year's income norm (**).

(*) You should have resided minimal 16 out of the 24 months prior to your first working day outside the 150-km zone.
(**) A reduced income norm applies to employees with a MSc qualification younger than 30 years. No income norm is set for qualified scientists and medical doctors. For the 30% income norms, see Income Norm for the 30% ruling.

The sign date on your employment contract should be set before your arrival date. As of 2019, the maximum validity of the 30 percent ruling is 5 years. This duration may be reduced if the employee resided in the Netherlands in the past 25 years. If you received your 30 percent ruling before 1 January 2019, a transition period may apply. 

Duration of the 30% ruling

The 30% ruling has a maximum duration of five years. This period may be reduced for any previous periods an employee stayed in the Netherlands. The duration reduction is determined by:

  • Periods of stay or working in the Netherlands, which started more than 25 years prior to the current arrival in the Netherlands and which ended less than 25 years prior to current arrival.
  • Periods of stay or working in the Netherlands within the past 25 years prior to the current arrival in the Netherlands, not included are periods up to 20 days per year in which employee worked in the Netherlands, not included periods up to a maximum of six weeks per year (or a one-time maximum uninterrupted period of three months) for visits to the Netherlands. 
  • Any period for which employee stayed or worked outside the Netherlands but classified as Dutch employee. 
In the approval statement received from the Dutch tax office both the start and end period of the 30% ruling is provided. The 30% ruling terminates the last day of the month following the termination of employment. If employment terminates on the 12th of September than the 30% ruling terminates on the 31st of October. For more information about the transition period, click here.


Notable exemptions for PhD students

PhD students can obtain the 30% ruling within 1 year after their promotion date. The following conditions apply:

  • The PhD student lived in the Netherlands (including the 150-km zone from the Dutch border) during his or her doctoral research
  • The PhD student lived minimal 16 out of the 24 months outside the 150-km zone prior to the start of his or her doctoral research

A qualified scientist (PhD) can also apply for the 30% ruling if:

  • The PhD research was conducted in the Netherlands and the PhD student was also employed
  • Employment started prior to the doctoral research and obtaining the PhD qualification was a condition for employment

The 30% ruling starts after obtaining the PhD qualification.

The 150-km exclusion zone 

Employees staying in close proximity of the Dutch border are excluded from the 30% ruling status. This restriction targets mainly employees recruited from Belgium, Luxembourg and parts of France, Germany and the UK. The proximity is defined as a distance up to 150 km from the Dutch border, measured point-to-point in a straight line to the Dutch border. 

The 24 month clause

To qualify for the 30% ruling status, the incoming employee should have lived for more than 16 months out of 24 months 150 km away from the Dutch border prior to the first working day. 

Exception to the 24 month clause:

  • Employees with a PhD degree who's first working day is within one year after receiving the degree. Provided that this employee lived and worked in the Netherlands or within a 150 km perimeter of the Dutch border. Note: this employ should have received his labor contract prior to receiving the PhD degree (i.e. the PhD degree was conditional for being hired).

Blue Umbrella for Dutch tax matters

Living and working in the Netherlands for a time? We can help you with your Dutch taxes, so you don't have to deal with the Belastingdienst yourself. Whether you're employed or have a small business, we'll make your life easier and save you money.