How to File Your Dutch Tax Return – A Brief Guide for Expats


If you are an international employee working (and living) in the Netherlands you will have to file your income taxes here, too. Not your favorite activity? Read the explanation below to learn about the basics – and if you need help, let us know!

Do I really need to file a tax return?

In the Netherlands you are obliged to file a tax return in case one of the following situations are applicable to you:

  • You received an invitation from the Dutch tax authorities to file a Dutch income tax return;
  • You received income from Dutch sources which led to an amount of income tax due;

Am I entitled to a tax refund?

Even if the above situations do not apply to you, it may still be a good idea to file a tax return. Why? Because it is very likely that you are entitled to a tax refund. This depends on your individual situation, like whether you have a spouse and whether they work; whether you have kids and how long you were here for.

Read some common examples of people who get a tax refund below:

  • Employees who started working in the Netherlands or left the Netherlands during a certain year are in most cases entitled to a tax refund based on their employment income.
  • Non-working spouses of employees in the Netherlands could also (under certain conditions) be entitled to a refund when they live together in the Netherlands for more than 6 months in a certain year; the so-called general tax credit. This amounts to € 543 in the tax year 2020.
  • Depending on your personal situation you could also be entitled to a refund during a full resident tax year.
  • If you have a working spouse and you have children under the age of 12 living with you in the Netherlands, the spouse with the lowest income is entitled to a tax credit of up to € 2.800 in 2020.

A fast way to find out

Not sure if you’re entitled to a tax refund? Do our free and quick Tax Scan to find out fast! Read more about the Tax Scan here or contact our Tax Manager Jantiene van der Velden via [email protected].

What’s the tax return process like?

In the Netherlands, the tax year runs from 1 January till 31 December. You can file a tax return for a year only after it has ended. Usually, the Dutch tax authorities (‘de Belastingdienst’) will send an invitation to file a tax return for the previous year when we’re in the middle of typical grey winter weather: around the end of January. Watch your snail mail for the typical blue envelope!

When you have filed your tax return, it will normally take around 6 till 8 weeks before the tax authorities issue a (preliminary) assessment. If you are entitled to a refund, the Dutch tax authorities will pay out the refund within a week from the assessment date (if a bank account number is known in their system). If you have to pay taxes, you will have to pay the amount due within 6 weeks after the assessment date.

Which tax form do I need?

Which tax form do you need? That depends on your exact migration or resident status. The most common forms needed for expats are:

  • M-form – Migration tax form – This form needs to be completed in the year you enter or leave the Netherlands. The tax authorities only supply this form in hard copy and in Dutch. However, we offer a digital English version of the M form.
  • P-form – Full resident tax form – This form (in Dutch) can be completed online via the Belastingdienst portal by yourself or via your tax advisor using an English form.
  • C-form – Full non-resident tax form – This form (partly in Dutch) can be completed online via the Belastingdienst portal by yourself or via your tax advisor using an English form.

As said, filing taxes rates low on most people’s list of hobbies. If you need help, please let us know. We can unburden you completely with regard to the tax filing process – and if you get a tax refund, it might well pay for our fee and get you a nice bonus on top of it, to spend on something you actually like. Want to have a chat first? Just book a free consultation.

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