In the context of the global economic downturn, in 2009 the Dutch Government has introduced a number of “anti crisis” tax incentives and measures to improve the cash flow position of entrepreneurs.

General tax measures

The following measures have been introduced to provide relief to taxpayers and to encourage full payment of taxes:

  • to improve cash flow, entrepreneurs may elect to file and pay VAT (maintained at 19%) on a three-month basis instead of once per month;
  • as from tax year 2009, the effective corporate income tax rate has been reduced. Profits up to a maximum amount of EUR 200,000 will be taxed at 20%. In excess of EUR 200,000, the statutory tax rate is 25.5%;
  • the carry back of tax losses has been made more flexible, accelerating a repayment of tax. The 2009 cash flow improvement in this regard is estimated to be EUR 335,000,000;
  • free/random depreciation of up to 50% is now permitted in respect of investments in further capital assets over the next two years; and
  • in order to encourage voluntary (non-penalised) disclosure of unreported foreign wealth, the maximum tax penalty has been increased from 100% to 300% as from 2 July 2009.

The Dutch Government has also just published a consultation paper (15 June 2009) for public comment proposing a relaxation of the country’s participation exemption rules, balanced by limitations on interest deductions and a mandatory group interest box which offers a much lower effective tax rate of 5% on group interest receipts (and group interest payments), in order to make the Netherlands more attractive as a location for group financing companies.

Energy and R&D related tax measures

To encourage R&D activities and environmentally-friendly behaviour, the following have been introduced:

  • a low (6%) VAT rate for energy saving isolation investments for residential property older than two years; in addition, so-called “double glass” will be subsidised;
  • with effect of 1 June 2009 until 31 December 2010, the so-called Energy Investment Deduction (“Energie Investeringsaftrek” or “EIA”) is available, under which 44% of the investment costs (up to a maximum of EUR 15,000) on certain energy saving equipment for rented residential property will be tax deductible;
  • annual government budgets (which set an upper limit for tax allowances) have been substantially increased for the so-called VAMIL and MIA - two facilities for dedicated environmentally-friendly investments. The VAMIL allows depreciation at will, while the MIA is an investment allowance.
  • as from 1 January 2009, the existing wage tax facilities for qualifying R&D activities have been extended. The R&D facility has been shaped as a wage tax withholding reduction at the level of the employer. The maximum amount of wage tax withholding reduction per employer has been increased from EUR 8,000,000 to EUR 14,000,000.
  • It is also noteworthy that the so-called “vliegbelasting” (tax on airline tickets) has, after a short life, been abolished as from 1 July 2009.