UENL began as a grassroots organization in April 2018 and formed an official Stichting in August 2018. UENL is managed by four members – all of whom are living and working in the Netherlands. UENL was formed in response to a proposal of the Dutch Ministry of Finance to reduce the term length of 30% tax ruling. Since its inception, UENL has been encouraging the government to stand by the deal they made with current recipients of the 30% tax ruling so that any changes apply to future expats, not to those already here. Afspraak is Afspraak.

What does it mean tHAT UENL IS A stichting

A Stichting (foundation) is a business entity most commonly used for social or non-profit organisations. A stichting requires a deed of incorporation which is drafted by a notary and must be registered in the Register of Commerce or "Kamer van Koophandel" (UENL KVK # 72294639). As a Stichting, UENL must be accountable for all of its work. This includes ensuring financial transparency as well as ensuring that all supported activities are legal. Commercial activities and financial transactions are only allowed if they comply with the purpose of the foundation and are generally taxed unless the Dutch Tax Service declares the foundation to be an “Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling”, (ANBI, "institution for general benefit”). UENL is not presently an ANBI (although we are in the process of an ANBI application).This means that, at the moment, UENL is subject to tax and donations to UENL are not tax deductible. Board members are volunteer and their only remuneration is restricted to reasonable “out of pocket” expenses (e.g., train tickets). Board members of a Stichting can be held liable, civilly as well as criminally. Given this, UENL exercises caution when determining whether to support external events as the responsibility of such events may be linked to UENL. 

Who has supported UENL in their strategy development?

UENL council members are by no means experts on the Dutch political and economic climate. As such, it was important to identify individuals that are experts in both the political and economic climate of the Netherlands as well as the broader EU context. UENL has received advice from professors of law and economics, law firms, individuals with Parliamentary experience, unions, lobbyists, and members of the UENL community. Together, all of this information is used to develop, evaluate, and execute the UENL strategy. 

WHY a legal Document instead of legal action in September and October 2018?

In September 2018, and again in October 2018 (after revisions to the proposal were made), UENL commissioned a legal document by the law firm Stibbe to identify the legality of the #30Rule proposal. Both resulting legal documents can be found here. In short, both documents confirmed that the proposal violates Dutch law and is counter to good governance.

We understand that some members of the community would have liked to have see other forms of legal action started immediately. Because the law was still a proposal, any legal actions taken at this stage would have most likely had no merit as this is an ongoing legislative process. This has been unanimously confirmed by the legal parties that UENL has spoken with. UENL acknowledges that there is no perfect decision in these complex situations. Working with all information available at this stage, UENL selected the process that seems most likely to yield the best possible outcome.

How did you select the law firm for the legal Document?

We began the selection process by defining the Scope of Engagement and by researching well-established and reputable law firms that could potentially fulfill the role. The first screening identified three potential law firms with two particularly suitable. These two were placed on our ‘short-list’.

Following this, we initiated the bidding process whereby the two short-listed law firms received a Request for Proposal (RFP) in order to solicit offers to draft the legal opinion. The RFP included, amongst other things, a section to provide process transparency and indicated the following key award criteria:

●      Cost of the Legal Opinion

●      Availability to enter into a Lump Sum Contract (in other words, a pre-agreed single-fix and firm-price) which was necessary given reliance on crowd-funding.

●      Past experience with similar cases (with supporting references)

●      Compliance with delivery timeline.

●      Fairness in their Terms and Conditions

●      Prestige of law firm to maximize impact during the Parliamentary debate

This ultimately led to the selection of Stibbe N.V., which was announced publicly on 28 September 2019.

The UENL GoFundMe campaign for the legal document raised more money than was originally needed. How will UENL use these additional funds?

Thank you to *every single person* that contributed and/or shared the UENL GoFundMe campaign. It’s because of this effort that we even have the opportunity to answer this fair question. As we have noted on the GoFundMe Page, we needed approximately 20000 EUR for the legal document. We also expected some other costs associated with the legal document (e.g., translation services; GoFundMe fees).

After that, the remaining money will be used to cover UENL operational and legal costs (e.g. including but not limited to legal action, consultation with subject matter experts, marketing campaigns, etc.) Following this, any remaining funds will be allocated to efforts that align with UENL’s mission to support and fight for expats living here in the Netherlands.

What is the anticipated timeline aFTER THE BUDGET PRESENTATION ON September 2018?

The timeline, as we know it, is posted below:  

  • Nov 05:   Finance Committee Oral Debate (Questions) 

  • Nov 09:   Finance Committee Oral Debate (Answers) 

  • Nov 13-15:   Tweede Kamer Plenary Debate Tax Plan 

  • Nov 19:   Eerste Kamer Technical Briefing Tax Plan 

  • Nov 20:   Eerste Kamer General Finance Debate 

  • Dec 04:   Eerste Kamer Written Consultation  

  • Dec 10/11:   Eerste Kamer Plenary Debate Tax Plan 

If our efforts are unsuccessful, UENL will look at all options and determine whether legal action in court is a reasonable next step. The legal opinion will help us identify how viable a lawsuit will be.

I own various form of assets (e.g. real estate, stock options, savings, both in The Netherlands and abroad). What will happen if 30% ruling will abruptly end?

As much as UENL would like to support the community in this regard, tax advisory services fall beyond the Stichting purpose and objective. Tax rules depends on your specific case, country of origin, tax treaties between countries, and more. From a logical standpoint, we would expect that, should the 30% ruling abruptly end, the affected individual will be subject to regular Dutch taxation with associated obligations as non-30% ruling beneficiaries. UENL’s recommendation is to consult a tax advisor for your specific situation.

ON Thursday, 15 November, THE Tweede Kamer voted to approve the Belastingplan2019. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR current users of the #30Rule?

In short, per 1 January 2021, the term limit for the #30Rule will be reduced to 5 years for current users of the #30Rule. The government has included SOME transition measures in this plan to offset the immediate consequences for SOME #30Rule users. This means that existing term limits are respected for SOME, but not all users. In other words, the approved legislation affects different users in different ways:

  • For current users whose original end date is in 2019 or 2020, your term limit will be respected. You will experience no change in the #30Rule.

  • For current users who have exceeded 5 years of use by 1 January 2021, your #30Rule will end on 31 December 2020.

  • For current users who have NOT exceeded the 5 years of use by 1 January 2021, your #30Rule will end when you reach 5 years of use.

Of note: This information is based on the typical usage of the #30Rule. It does not take into account situations such as job change, pauses in usage, or other unique applications of the #30Rule. UENL recommends that all questions regarding your personal situation be directed to the Belastingdienst or to your personal tax advisor.

ON Thursday, 15 November, THE Tweede Kamer voted to approve the Belastingplan2019, including the changes to the #30Rule. What Will UENL do next?

 On 15 November 2018, the Tweede Kamer approved the Belastingplan2019, which includes transition for SOME users of the #30Rule. UENL, however, believes that #aDEALisaDEAL for EVERYONE – and to that end – UENL will be taking two key steps in the coming weeks:

1.    Lobbying the Eerste Kamer. Formally, the role of the Eerste Kamer is to scrutinize the actions of the Government. The Eerste Kamer can only reject or accept legislation. They cannot propose amendments. They do, however, have several other options to influence change. Like the Tweede Kamer, members of the Eerste Kamer are entitled to put written questions to the Government. They also debate on the Government's budget which gives them the opportunity to debate current and future policy. At UENL, we will be ensuring our voices are heard by the Eerste Kamer – including ensuring that our commissioned legal document is in the hands of the Eerste Kamer. Our main focus will be to reiterate that the #30Rule legislation in the Belastingplan2019 violates Dutch law. Although UENL will do its utmost, it is important to be realistic that the chances of successfully lobbying the Eerste Kamer are minimal.

The schedule for the Eerste Kamer, as we know it now, is as follows: 

  • Nov 19:   Eerste Kamer Technical Briefing Tax Plan 

  • Nov 20:   Eerste Kamer General Finance Debate 

  • Dec 04:   Eerste Kamer Written Consultation Tax Plan  

  • Dec 10/11: Eerste Kamer Plenary Debate Tax Plan

  • Dec 18: Eerste Kamer Voting

2.    Evaluating our Legal Options. Given that our chances of successfully lobbying the Eerste Kamer are minimal, we believe it is also important to fully understand our legal options. We are currently evaluating all options to determine whether legal action in court is a reasonable next step. In the coming days, we will continue our ongoing conversations with our legal team as well as with legal advisors to identify what is the most feasible and realistic solution. We will then present our plan to our Community, along with the associated costs.