All international citizens living and working in the Netherlands need to contact the local tax authorities (Belastingdienst) at some point.
Functions of the Dutch tax office
The local tax office Belastingdienst is the Dutch governmental structure in charge of assessing and collecting taxes and excise and customs duties. The Belastingdienst, as part of the Financial Ministry also controls the distribution of allowances, e.g. unemployment and healthcare benefits.
Expat services in the Belastingdienst
Most international residents contact the tax office for the following matters:
Application for a citizen service number (BSN);
Submission of yearly income tax returns;
Application for public allowances, e.g. child benefits or rent allowances;
Application for the 30% reimbursement ruling;
Opening a company as a freelancer or a company.
Some of these tax services are available online. You can log in the system using your personal DigiD.
Other national tax organizations
There are other governmental organizations, besides the Belastingdienst, that are authorized to levy taxes. The city councils, or “gemeenten”, collect tourist, waste and property taxes and the water boards, or “waterschappen”, collect taxes for protection from floods and water treatment.
Contacting the tax office
At the beginning of 2016 all communications of the Belastingdienst were moved online. In order to receive online correspondence instead of blue envelopes by post, you have to open a user account with your personal DigiD here.
Important: Do not ignore any messages or letters from the tax office, as they often request you to take some action.
Contacting the tax office by phone
The Dutch tax service has a free phone line 0800 0543 (Mon – Thu: open from 8 am to 8 pm, Friday: from 8 am to 5 pm). You can call to receive assistance and information on any tax-related issue of concern. The line is serviced only in Dutch.
Communicating with the tax office in English
As of 2008 the Belastingdienst phone helpdesk provides services only in Dutch. The reason is to avoid any misunderstanding between the clients and the employees at the tax office, as miscommunication may lead to mistakes of financial nature having legal implications.
Occasionally some local tax office employees may be willing to speak or write work-related correspondence in English; that depends on their discretion. It is advisable to contact a competent advisor in order to overcome the language barrier.
Visiting the tax office
The Belastingdienst has many offices in the country that work with visiting clients. You have to schedule your appointment beforehand by using the free line of the Belastingdienst, 0800 0543.
Tax office branches
You can use the directory of the Dutch tax service to find the office closest to you. Its branches in the bigger cities are open from Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 5 pm, and their addresses are listed below:
Amsterdam: Kingsfordweg 1, 1043GN
The Hague: Prinses Beatrixlaan 512, 2595BL
Rotterdam: Laan op Zuid 45, 3072DB
Eindhoven: Karel de Grotelaan 4, 5616CA
Utrecht: Herman Gorterstraat 55, 3511EW