The 183-day rule: it's not just about the number of days

On numerous websites and in guides about living and working abroad, there are references to the 183-day rule. And as long as you visit expat bars or golf clubs often enough, you're bound to hear talk of it as well. It's worth keeping in mind that not all the opinions you hear are generally applicable to all countries and circumstances.

Many international consultants and contractors come to work in the Netherlands for their own companies. This is not normally a problem, but could be a problem if you don't know about the 183-day rule. Too many international workers assume that if they work in a country for less than six months, they will not be considered resident for tax purposes. This is not the case in the Netherlands.

The 183-day rule does not always apply

The 183-day rule only applies if the material employer is a non-Dutch company. In November 2017, the Dutch Court made a clear distinction between a formal and a material employer.

The Court ruled that the 183-day rule did not apply to a Belgian payroll company that seconded Belgian residents to a Dutch client. The Dutch end client was considered to be the material employer, and not the Belgian payroll company. Under these circumstances, Dutch payroll taxes were due from day one.

Working for your own bv

For many employees, the best solution is to register with the Dutch tax authorities as a non-resident with your own private limited company. This is a relatively minor adjustment and we can help you with the registration procedure. If your BV has a valid EU VAT number, you should also be able to keep it as usual.

Also, you will need to make sure that your working relationship is classified as self-employment and not employment. It is a big risk if you are seen as an employee for tax related issues, when you work under the management and supervision of the end client in much the same way as other team members who are salaried. In such a situation, everyone in the employment relationship (including the end client and the secondment agency) is considered liable for unpaid payroll taxes and VAT from your BV according to the Dutch Wet Ketenaansprakelijkheid.

You can avoid the risk of being classified as a payroll worker by drawing up a model contract that explains your payroll tax status and payroll obligations. This also includes registering your BV with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce as a non-resident entity (so using your business address in your home country). You will also need a non-resident BSN number and professional liability insurance.

We can help put these matters in order. We are also happy to advise company directors on the rules relating to the Dutch minimum annual income and the 30% rule (a very favorable tax-free allowance for highly skilled international consultants and contractors who meet certain criteria).

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Neem contact met ons op +31 (0) 20 3080 580

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