On 4 March 2016, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled on the 150 km-requirement in theSopora case and the reduction rule of the 30%-ruling. For taxpayers who arrived prior to 1 January 2012, the 150 km-issue is still open.
As of 1 January 2012, the scope of the 30%-ruling has been limited in a number of ways.
One of these limitations is the introduction of the 150 km-requirement: in order to qualify for the 30%-ruling, the employee must have lived at a distance of more than 150 km from the Dutch border for at least 2/3 of the 24-months period immediately preceding the start of his employment in the Netherlands. Another limitation is the tightening of the reduction-rule: all previous periods of work or stay in the Netherlands that ended less than 25 years prior to the start of the employment, are deducted from the maximum term possible (8 years) for the 30%-ruling.
The first limitation affects residents of neighbouring countries (Belgium, Luxemburg, Northern France, a small part of the UK and the Western part of Germany), the second effectively disallows access to the 30%-ruling to returning former Dutch residents. The Dutch Supreme Court ruled that those two limitations are not in conflict with EU and international law.
A question that has not yet been answered is whether the 150 km-requirement applies to the test after 5 years which taxpayers who have arrived prior to 1 January 2012 have to meet. If they were recruited or seconded from within the 150 km border-zone before 2012 they are faced with an early termination of their 30%-ruling after five years. A court case on this very matter is still pending. Taxpayers who, at the five years-test, have filed objection against the termination of their 30% ruling for reason of the 150 km requirement, are advised to inform the tax inspector that they wish to maintain their objection until the Supreme Court has ruled on this matter in order to avoid that the tax authorities officially dismiss their objection.