UENL - Year in Review, Next Steps

19 December

Dear all,

As we expected, the Eerste Kamer has voted to approve the Belastingplan2019. This means that the term limit to the #30Rule will be reduced to 5 years, but thanks to the efforts of many - including this community - there will be a transition period for many (not all) #30Rule recipients.

The new law will go into effect on 1 January 2019. For current #30Rule users, the enforcement of the 5 years will begin on 1 January 2021. This means that (1) current users with an original end date in 2019/2020 will see their term limit respected, (2) current users who exceed 5 years of use by January 2021 will see their #30Rule end on 31 December 2020, and (3) current users who have NOT exceeded the 5 years of use by January 2021 will see their term limit end once 5 years is reached.

Of course, our goal all along has been #aDEALisaDEAL for everyone. While this vote means that we did not get everything we hoped for, we did achieve so much together. Just look at some of our milestones:

  • We created and launched a powerful video that went viral (should out to Mike here for this talent, skills, and vision).

  • We delivered a petition to the Finance Committee that now has over 40,000 signatures along with a vibrant demonstration AND delivered a statement to the entire committee (shout out to Pavi for her demonstration skillz and our advisors for making sure we did this the right way). 

  • We corralled public support from organizations and unions (shout out to Engelbert here).

  • We received extensive national and international press attention.

  • We formed an official Stichting. 

  • We launched Project Real Stories (shout out to Ash and Mike here).

  • We raised more than 50000 euro to fund two persuasive legal documents (shout out to ALL OF YOU and to Massi and Mike for their careful attention to the legal steps).

  • We motivated numerous proposed amendments in the Tweede Kamer and had questions raised by members of Parliament throughout the debate season (kudos to our advisors who helped us learn what to do and how to do it!)

  • We blasted the Eerste Kamer with over 2000 emails in just 3 short days (shout out to ALL OF YOU!)

  • And the list goes on and on …

Ultimately, we raised attention to our efforts in a diplomatic and meaningful way, and thanks in part to these efforts (alongside corporate lobbying regarding the dividend tax), we ultimately received a transition period for many users of the #30Rule. Did we achieve everything we wanted? No. Not yet. But we achieved so much. We showed the power that raising our voices can have. We showed the power of taking a stand for something we believe in. This matters, and it is something I am truly thankful for.

I am also truly thankful for the UENL board who, without even meaning to, has become like family. Somehow, despite full time jobs and families and real life, we found a way to come together, fight together, and support one another. Through pizza nights and gin-and-tonics, through German beers and too much pepernoten, we debated and discussed every decision and have spoken nearly every day since April. It has required sacrificing time with families, late hours, long days – and despite it all – this board has kept going. It continues to be an honor to work with them. No matter how hard the journey has been (and it’s had some seriously challenging moments), this group has found a way to persevere. I feel privileged to work with this board, and equally privileged to have the support of this community.

I know that many of you want to know what comes next (especially in terms of legal action). This is an important and fair question. But first – I need my team to have a break. I want them to have a brilliant holiday season with their family and friends. They deserve it. And I want the same for all of you. Whatever you may do, however you may celebrate, I hope it brings you peace and joy. Come 2019, we will be back at it with plenty of updates.

But until then, I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season.

On behalf of the UENL board,
Jessica Piotrowski

UENL Hires Andersen Tax & Legal

UENL formed an official Stichting (Foundation) in August 2018. In doing so, UENL is required to comply with a variety of financial regulations. Even more, looking ahead, we are planning to apply for the status as an Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling (ANBI, i.e., Public Benefit Organization). 

To ensure full financial compliance, as well as to receive the necessary guidance for our ANBI application, we are happy to announce that we have hired Andersen Tax & Legal. Over the past few weeks, this group (in particular, Hans de Vries) has provided us helpful insights with respect to the #30Rule legislation as well as our own internal finances. We feel confident with this organization and look forward to working with Andersen in the months ahead.

A rapidly changing world doesn’t ask for beaten paths. It needs creativity and intuition. Thinking out of the box. Extending boundaries. Having the guts to strike new paths and aim to be the benchmark for quality in our industry. - Andersen Tax & Legal

Website: https://www.andersentaxlegal.nl/nl/team/

UENL’s Efforts: Looking Back, Looking Ahead

In September 2018, the Government announced its plans to reduce the #30Rule to a five-year term limit for current and new users of the #30Rule. The decision to break a deal with current users of the #30Rule was met with significant resistance by corporations, unions, lobbyists, and of course, the UENL community. Of particular note, UENL released a commissioned legal document which showed that the proposal violated Dutch law.

In October 2018, based on this resistance, the commissioned legal document, and a decision to maintain the dividend tax, the Government announced it would include SOME transition for SOME users of the #30Rule in the Belastingplan2019.

UENL, however, believes that #aDEALisaDEAL for EVERYONE – and to that end – UENL continued its efforts after October 2018 by requesting that existing term limits be respected for ALL current users of the #30Rule. UENL commissioned a second legal document which again showed that the proposal continues to violate Dutch law – specifically violating the principles of legal certainty, proportionality, and equality. In short, the #30Rule proposal – as included in the Belastingplan2019 – is counter to good governance.

With this information in hand, UENL continued its extensive lobbying efforts – ensuring that the Tweede Kamer was aware that treating current recipients of the #30Rule differently is damaging to the trustworthiness of the government and violates Dutch law. Ultimately, two different amendments were proposed by the opposition (GroenLinks & Socialist Party; PvdA & SGP) which respected term limits for ALL current users. The Tweede Kamer, however, rejected these amendments. The Tweede Kamer did vote to approve the revised Belastingplan2019.

UENL continues to believe that #aDEALisADEAL for everyone, As such, 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.

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.

#aDEALisaDEAL

Revised 2019 Belastingplan Released

The revised 2019 Belastingplan has been released. The proposal, as written now, confirms our earlier expectations. Less than half of all #30Rule recipients are proposed to receive transition.

According to the proposal: #30Rule recipients whose term began in 2016 or later will not receive a transition period (and thus will lose three years of their promised term). Individuals whose start date began before 2016 will maintain their #30Rule until a maximum of 31 December 2020.

UENL is currently working with our legal advisors and legal firms to understand the legal ramifications of this proposal and potential next steps. Parliamentary debates will begin on 5 November, providing us an opportunity to convince Parliament to amend the proposal so that term limits are respected for all current recipients of the #30Rule.

We recommend that affected individuals speak with their own tax advisors or with the Belastingdienst to understand their personal situations.

#aDEALisaDEAL

Lack of Full Transition Period For 30% Tax Rule Violates Dutch Law

15 October 2018

UENL Stichting hired the law firm Stibbe (Tom Barkhuysen) to investigate whether the Government can legally implement the proposed changes to the 30% rule without transitional measures. The resulting Legal Document, which was submitted to the Finance Committee, concludes that the proposal is contrary to the principles of legal certainty, predictability, and proportionality. Even more, the lack of transition measures is in direct conflict with the Staatssecretaris’s own published policy on transitional law in tax legislation and with the principles of due diligence and justification. As such, the proposal is unlikely to meet judicial scrutiny should it go into law and, therefore, the 2019 Tax Plan should be amended accordingly. The document was produced in Dutch, with an English translation also available.