BEFORE 2022 ENDS …
To do before 2022 ends
Before 2022 ends, there are a few things you might want to do to wrap up the year nicely.
As usual, I have made a long, but not exhaustive, list with tips & tricks.
When finally the last Corona measures were lifted in February, we thought that the year could only get better. Soon after, Russia invaded Ukraine, which has made many things worse – especially for the Ukrainian citizens, of course.
We all hope for a more peaceful 2023, with less inflation, lower energy prices and fewer staff shortages everywhere. Time will tell. Hang in there!
Before this, there are a couple of things you should look into. Think about the below situations, whether they apply to your family.
Things to do before the year ends:
- Switch health insurance provider
- Check your child care benefits
- What else will change in 2023? (taxes, benefits, housing prices, firework ban, environment, etc.)
- Dutch Christmas & NYE quiz
SWITCH HEALTH INSURANCE PROVIDER
In the Netherlands, everyone is obliged to have health care insurance (=zorgverzekering).
January 1st is one of the rare occasions that you may switch to a different health insurance provider. In case you were wondering, this is why you are seeing so many ads for health insurances in this period. If you want to switch, you should cancel your current insurance before December 31st at 11.59 pm.
Compare insurance companies
There are many websites where you can compare the insurances, for example the Consumentenbond, which is probably one of the most objective websites. The best offer depends on your personal situation, your family composition, and what type of care you need.
You should note that the collective discounts (=collectiviteitskorting) will terminate per 1 January 2023.
Health insurance consists of three parts: basic insurance (=basisverzekering), the optional additional insurance (=aanvullende verzekering), and dental insurance (=tandheelkundige zorg).
The contents of the basic insurance have been assembled by the government and are the same for every insurance company. More info you can find on the government website.
The insurance providers decide on the corresponding prices. The average monthly payment for the basic insurance in 2023 is € 138.11. Children are covered for free through the health insurance of their parents.
There are various additional (aanvullende) insurance packages that offer you more coverage, for a higher monthly fee. The insurance companies establish the contents and prices of these additional packages themselves. You will need the additional insurance if, for example, your child needs braces, you are interested in alternative healthcare, or in additional sessions of physical therapy, a more extensive child birth package, or travel vaccines.
Eigen risico (own risk)
Be aware, the ‘eigen risico’ (own risk) of 385 euros has been decided by the government and is the same for every basic insurance. This means that you have to pay the first € 385 of your health care consumption yourself. For some treatments, like the GP (=huisarts), midwife (=verloskundige), and dental care (=tandarts) for children up to 18yo, the own risk doesn’t apply (they are always covered).
If you don’t make much use of health care, you’ll only have to pay parts of the own risk -if you only declare, for example, 150 euros on health care; you pay these 150 euros and not the 385 euros.
On top of that, you could choose for a higher voluntary own risk (=vrijwillig eigen risico), which will lower your monthly fee.
Most insurance companies offer the possibility to spread the payments of the eigen risico over the year (=gespreid betalen), so you don’t have to pay 385 euros at once.
Some treatments you have to pay partly yourself (=eigen bijdrage). For example, some insurances only cover max. 40 euros per person per day for alternative medicines. The rest of the costs you’ll have to pay yourself.
Various policy options
Then you also have the choice between a restitutiepolis, a naturapolis, a combinatiepolis, and budgetpolis.
Of these four insurances, the restitutiepolis is most expensive, but it gives you the freedom to select the health care provider or hospital of your preference.
The naturapolis is cheaper, but you can only go to those health care providers with which your insurance company has a contract – you would like to check this beforehand.
The budgetpolis is the cheapest of the three, but here your options for hospitals and other health care providers are much more limited, and you’ll have to arrange most insurance issues online.
The combinatiepolis is a combination of the naturapolis and the restitutiepolis.
Please note: in case of emergency you can always go to any hospital.
People with a lower income may qualify for ‘zorgtoeslag’; a contribution towards the costs for health care.
CHECK YOUR CHILDCARE BENEFITS (=kinderopvangtoeslag)
When both parents work, or follow an official study, or when a single parent works/studies, they can most likely apply for a tax rebate for childcare.
If you already receive this tax rebate, don’t forget to inform the tax office (=Belastingdienst) of any changes in your childcare situation. Think new hourly fees in 2023, or your child will spend more or less hours at daycare compared to past year; or your 4-year-old will switch from daycare to after-school care (=BSO), or your newborn will also join daycare. Also notify them about any expected changes in your household income, or when a parent has reduced or increased their working hours or quit their job.
If you provide the tax office with the correct information beforehand, you won’t risk paying back parts of the rebate at the end of the year. You can make your changes (wijzigingen) on the website of the Belastingdienst. Login with your DigId. You could also install the Kinderopvangtoeslag app on your phone.
On the website of the Belastingdienst you can make a trial calculation of how much rebate you could expect each month.
You should also be aware of the maximum hourly fee (maximum uurtarieven),the rebate is based on.
In 2023, this is € 8.97 per hour for daycare, € 7.72 for after-school care, and €6.73 for care provided by a guest parent (gastouder). This means that, if the childcare organization charges a higher amount per hour, the parents have to pay the difference in price themselves.
Because of the high inflation, the government has recently decided that they will contribute more towards the daycare costs, by means of increasing the maximum hourly fee they will base the tax rebate on. It isn’t known yet by when this will take effect.
From 2023, the daycare support is not linked to the number of hours that the parents work anymore. They will now look at the number of worked months per year by each parent.
The maximum number of declarable hours stays 230 hours of daycare per month.
Height of the rebate
In the table on the bottom of this page, you can get an idea of how much money you’ll get back. The rebate is higher for parents who have two or more children who attend childcare. Please note that by ‘first child’ they mean the child who is in childcare for the most hours per week, and not necessarily the oldest child.
The parents in the lowest income brackets get 96% of the daycare costs back for their 1st child, and also 96% for their 2nd and further children. The parents with the highest incomes get 33.3% back for their 1st child, and 67.1% for their other children. There are in total about 70 income brackets with each their own return percentage.
Please note that for the lunchtime supervision at your child’s primary school (Tussenschoolse opvang – tso), the tax rebate does not apply.
Moving towards free childcare
The latest coalition agreement of the cabinet stated that by 2025, they aim to provide (almost) free childcare to all children of working parents. The exact details aren’t clear yet. This will hugely simplify this very complicate rebate system. Before this moment they will have to work very hard to solve the current teacher shortage and long waiting lists.
In this Doodly video I explain the various childcare options.
The Consumentenbond (the national consumers’ organization) also provides a lot of reliable information about the various tax rebates and benefits.
Kinderbijslag (child benefits):
All parents who pay taxes in the Netherlands, receive an amount of money to cover some of the costs related to having a child. Kinderbijslag is the same amount for everyone; it’s not dependent on your income.Kinderbijslag is paid every quarter by the SVB.
When you register with the municipality upon your arrival in the Netherlands, they will automatically send a notification to the SVB. You should receive a letter from SVB within 3 to 6 weeks after registering with the municipality.
In case this goes wrong, you could also apply here (in English).
This is what you can expect (slightly more than past year):
|Age of child||Amount of allowance per 3 months, per child|
|0 – 5 years old||€ 249.31|
|6 – 11 years old||€ 302.74|
|12 – 17 years old||€ 356.16|
Parents whose children have higher (medical) costs can get higher child benefits.
Parents who have a lower income, may apply for the Kindgebonden budget, health care and/or rent allowances, paid by the tax office. All these allowances will increase per 1 January.
Nationality: Note that the above rebates are granted to people who have the Dutch nationality, or who come from another EU country, or from Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland or Switzerland. Citizens from other countries need to have a valid residence permit for the Netherlands.
An exception to this rule has been made for Ukrainian refugees, who don’t need a residence permit until at least 1 March 2024.
WHAT ELSE WILL CHANGE IN 2023?
Some other things might change in your situation. Just a few examples:
Since we have had to deal with high inflation and increased costs of living, many people will get some sort of compensation. Still, most people will sadly notice a decrease in purchase power in the coming year.
- From January 1st, the ‘energy ceiling’ (energieplafond) will be introduced. This means that households and small businesses will pay a maximum tariff for their electricity and gas consumption, up to a certain threshold. The government will pay the remainder of the rapidly increased prices.
- The minimum wage will be increased by at least 10%, and since unemployment benefits are linked to the minimum wage, people who receive these benefits will get some more money too.
- Workers will pay 36.93% instead of 37.07% of their income in the first bracket of their income taxes.
- Since the interest rates have gone up over the past months, the (indexed) pensions will increase too.
- Some measures have been taken to further protect the environment, for example, households which want to install solar panels, don’t need to pay VAT anymore, the flight taxes will go up, offices will need to have need to have at least energy label C, and businesses which produce high carbon dioxide emissions will have to pay higher taxes.
- The price of a pack of cigarettes will go up. This is to discourage more people to start smoking, or help them to quit. And also the number of flavours of e–cigarettes (vapes), especially the ones that attract a younger crowd, will be reduced.
- Misleading advertisements with prices that first go up before showing a ‘discount’ will be banned. We especially saw this a lot in the period around Black Friday, which somehow lasted for weeks…
- In Amsterdam and eleven other municipalities, there is a firework ban for New Years Eve (and any other time of the year). Various professional firework shows and other festivities will take place spread out over the city. On the Gemeente website they’ll tell you how and where.
- In the whole country, people on scooters (both drivers and passengers) will have to wear a helmet (this was already the case in Amsterdam).
Other tax related issues that will change in 2023, you’ll find on the website of the tax office. And also a handy overview of the changes related to families with young children. The tax office also provides some tax information in English.
Are you looking for something fun to do with the kids during the Christmas break? You’ll find some ideas on the website of the municipality of Amsterdam, and on Kidsproof (select your city).
DUTCH CHRISTMAS & NYE QUIZ
Have you recently moved to the Netherlands? How much do you already know about the Dutch Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations?
Take the Dutch Christmas & NYE quiz now, and win one of the beautiful prizes.
STAY HEALTHY AND SAFE AND SEE YOU IN 2023!