Until recently, the Dutch Inland Revenue Services (“IRS”) considered BlackBerrys and smartphones to be ‘computer devices’. As a consequence thereof, these devices could only be provided tax free to an employee if their use was almost entirely work-related (at least 90%).

New legislation

However, in a decree of 22 August 2007 the State Secretary of Finance indicated that BlackBerrys and smartphones must not be considered computer devices, but communication devices, since their main purpose is communication. The screen and the ability to input information in these devices is too limited to label them as computers.

Effect on employers

The above is good news for employers, since the regime for the tax free provision of communication devices is less strict. Therefore, employers may now provide BlackBerrys and/or smart phones tax free, provided that their work-related use is more than incidental (at least 10%).