On 1 June this year, State Secretary Wiebes announced that enforcement of the Assessment of Employment Relationships (Deregulation) Act (DBA Act) would be postponed for the second time: this time until 1 July 2018. Until then, the Tax and Customs Administration will not impose any fines or additional tax assessments if it turns out retrospectively that an employment relationship does in fact exist. Action will be taken, however, against parties acting in bad faith.

The enforcement of the DBA Act had already been postponed once, until 1 January 2018 (read our e-flash of November 2016). This postponement tied in with the government’s wish to examine whether the ‘free replacement’ and ‘authority relationship’ criteria under public law needed to be recalibrated. The results of this study are now known and the new government will have to make choices on the matter. Enforcement of the DBA Act will therefore be postponed until at least 1 July 2018.

Parties acting maliciously

The Tax Authorities will take action, though, against parties acting in bad faith: parties who deliberately allow a situation of evident fictitious self-employment to arise or continue, because they know – or could have known – that an employment relationship does in fact exist. Initially the Tax Authorities will only target serious cases, i.e. situations where parties are clearly acting outside the legal framework. It therefore does not concern an independent professional about whom there are murmurings concerning the relationship of authority. Cases will be targeted, however, where clients and contractors operate in the context of deliberate intent, fraud or scams.