The Dutch tax authorities review every application for the 30% ruling on an individual basis. In this respect the Dutch tax inspector will review the employee’s situation at the time he/she moves to the Netherlands to determine eligibility for the 30% ruling. The employee will need to meet the following 3 criteria in order to be eligible for the 30%-ruling:

1. Employment/ hired from abroad

2. Specific expertise/ salary level

3. Scarcity

1. Employment/ hired from abroad

The 30%-ruling is meant to attract foreign employees with specific expertise to the Netherlands. In that respect, the expatriate must be living outside of the Netherlands when hired or assigned to work in the Netherlands.

If the expatriate moves to the Netherlands and is hired after already having moved to the Netherlands, then the expatriate is in principle considered to be hired locally and may therefore fail the employment test. In order to qualify for the 30%-ruling the expatriate will then need to prove that he/she was not to be considered a Dutch tax resident at the moment of hire.

Please note that the employee is not considered to be hired from abroad if he/she was living in the foreign border region (within a radius of 150 kilometre from the Dutch borders) for more than 8 months in the 2 years prior to the employment start in the Netherlands.

2. Specific expertise/ salary level

The ruling is meant to attract employees with specific expertise to the Netherlands. The Dutch tax authorities determine whether the employee possesses specific expertise based on a minimum salary level.

Employees with a minimum income of € 37.000 (excluding the maximum 30% cost allowance) are automatically deemed to have specific expertise. This salary level refers to the employee’s wage that is subject to tax excluding any tax-exempt reimbursements, which means that the salary should be at least gross € 52.857 (2017) including the maximum 30% cost allowance.

For employees with a Master´s Degree below the age of 30, there is a reduced minimum salary level of  € 28.125 (excluding the 30% cost allowance). This means that their salary should be at least gross € 40.179 (2017) with the maximum 30% cost allowance. In order to qualify for the 30% ruling the Master's Decree should meet Dutch standards. In this respect, an official evalutation of the IDW/Nuffic is required. 

Foreign employees working in the higher education/research sector or training to become a medical specialist at appointed institutions in the Netherlands can even be eligible for the 30%-ruling without a minimum salary condition.

3. Scarcity test

Finally, the employer must prove that they needed to hire the employee from outside the Netherlands because it was difficult to find an employee with similar qualifications on the Dutch labour market. In this respect there are three conditions which the tax authorities can review in order to determine if specific expertise is scarce on the Dutch labour market, namely:

a. the level of education;

b. the work experience relevant for the position;

c. the salary level compared to the home country.

These conditions are evaluated interdependently by the Dutch tax authorities for the evaluation of the scarcity on the Dutch labour market.

a. Education

Generally, the Dutch tax authorities will consider a business or university degree as a passing requirement. In the absence of such a degree, specific courses or other means can be used to argue education proficiency levels.

b. Experience

As a rule of thumb, the Dutch tax authorities expect the employee to have at least 2.5 years of relevant work experience before he/she can argue to have specific expertise. In this respect, relevant relates to having experience in the same field of work and on a similar level.

c. Salary level compared to home country

The salary level will be evaluated in relation to salary levels in the home country i.e. someone coming from India and earning € 35,000 per annum is considered as a higher level employee in India.