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It is almost 2020 – a whole new decennium is awaiting us. 

This also means there are only a few days left to make some important changes; if they apply to your situation.

Things to do before the year ends:

  • Switch health insurance provider
  • Check child care benefits (=kinderopvangtoeslag)
  • What else will change in 2020? (taxes, VAT-identification number for self-employed business owners, preschool, ground lease in Amsterdam, developments at international schools)

 

– SWITCH HEALTH INSURANCE PROVIDER:

In the Netherlands, everyone is obliged to have health care insurance.

January 1st is one of the rare occasions that you may switch to a different health insurance provider. 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.

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.

There are various additional insurance packages that offer you more coverage, for a higher monthly fee. The insurance companies establish the contents of these packages and the corresponding fees themselves.

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 this 150 euros and not the 385 euros. On top of that, you can choose for a higher voluntary own risk (=vrijwillig eigen risico), which will lower your monthly fee.

Please note: 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. 45 euros per person per day for alternative medicine. The rest of the costs you’ll have to pay for yourself.

Sometimes you can get a collective discount (=collectiviteitskorting) through your employer or (charity) organization. In 2020, the collectivity discount will decrease compared to 2019. 

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 that you like. 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 budget insurance is the cheapest of the three, but here your options for 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. You should dial 112 when you are in urgent need.

People with a lower income may qualify for ‘zorgtoeslag’; a contribution towards the costs for health care. In 2020, this contribution will increase compared to 2019.

 

– CHECK CHILD CARE BENEFITS (=kinderopvangtoeslag)

Picture of calculation of tax rebate

When both parents work or follow an official study or when a single parent works/studies, you can most likely apply for a tax rebate for daycare.

If you already receive this tax rebate, don’t forget to inform the tax office (=Belastingdienst) of any changes in your child care situation. Think new hourly fees in 2020; more/less hours your child will spend at daycare; switch to after-school care (=BSO); but also any expected changes in your household income. 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.

On www.belastingdienst.nl/rekenhulpen/toeslagen you can make a trial calculation of how much rebate you could expect. The number of hours that you are entitled to daycare support also depends on the number of hours that you (and your partner) work: multiply the number of hours that the least working parent works by 140% for daycare, and 70% for after-school care (BSO). The maximum amount of hours for the rebate is 230 hours per month.

In the table on the bottom of this page, you can get an idea of how much money you’ll get back. The lowest income brackets get 96% of the daycare costs back for their 1st child and also 96% for the 2nd and further children. The highest incomes get 33.3% back for their 1st child and 67.6% for the rest. There are in total about 70 income brackets with each their own return percentage. 

– WHAT ELSE WILL CHANGE IN 2020?

Are you a self-employed business owner (ZZP’er) in the Netherlands? In order to protect your privacy, per January 1st, your VAT isn’t linked to your BSN-number anymore. In your communication with the tax office (Belastingdienst), you’ll still have to use your current VAT number. This will be called omzetbelastingnummer. 

 You should have received a new VAT-identification number (btw-identificatienummer) from the tax office. This number you should use on your invoices, website and in your communication with your clients and suppliers. The identification number consists of the country code NL, 9 numbers, the letter ‘B’ and two random control numbers, for example: NL000099998B57. 

Other tax related issues that will change in 2020 you’ll find here.

Ground lease in Amsterdam:

Two Dutch canal houses in Amsterdam

Do you live in Amsterdam and do you own your home? Chances are very high that the ground is owned by the municipality and that you are paying ground lease (erfpacht). A lot is going to change per January 1st, so you should really look into this issue now! 

Most likely your ground lease has been paid off until some point in the future, let’s say until 12 April 2045. After this date, you will have to pay a yearly fee, or pay off the lease for a new term. These fees are likely to be much higher than they are now. If you don’t want to take this risk, you can decide to switch to a perpetual ground lease. If you decide now to fix the fees for the future (in this case from 12 April 2045 onwards), and you apply before January 1st 2020, the municipality will base the fees on the WOZ value (Valuation of Immovable Property Act) for your property, recorded in 2014 or 2015. The lowest of the two will be applied. The WOZ value of 2014 or 2015 will probably be lower than the future WOZ value, so that will work in your advantage. Additionally, you will receive a discount when you switch to a perpetual ground lease. Until December 31st this year, this discount is 35%, afterwards it will be 25%.

You’ll have to submit your request for an offer before January 1st. Then it will take a long time until you receive your actual offer – they are very busy now. Once you have received your offer, you’ll have 3 months to confirm it, which also includes the use of a notary (at your own expense). You can always say ‘no’ later, so it would be better to at least submit your request now. Anyone who submits a request to switch this year – provided that the conditions of the switch are met – has the certainty that they will receive the favourable terms, even if their application is processed after 1 January 2020. See also: www.amsterdam.nl/en/news/ground-lease-future.

Preschools:

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From 1 August 2020, all preschools in the Netherlands are obliged to offer 16 (instead of 10) hours of preschool per week and 40 weeks per year. In a lot of cities, this is already the case.

The costs for preschool are based on your household income. Everyone gets either a tax rebate or a contribution from the municipality. Parents who have a lower income, and/or whose children have a VVE-indication pay less. Children can get a VVE-indication when they have a language delay in their home language(s), or when their parents are lower-educated. Here you can calculate how much you will have to pay for preschool in 2020. You may apply for preschool from your child’s 1st birthday.

On Wednesday, 15 April 2020 you can visit the Amsterdam preschools, and ask a lot of information during the Day of the Voorschool. More info you can read here.

You will find all the recognized childcare facilities in the School Finder. Select ‘voorscholen’ for preschools.

Do you need help find a preschool? Book a call with New2NL here.

International schools:

  • There are also some recent updates for the international schools in and around Amsterdam:
    • In Amstelveen, a subsidized international primary school opened in October 2019: Amstelland International School. On Saturday, 11 January, they’ll have their 1st open day, when you can see it for yourself.
    • The AICS campus in Amsterdam South-East has arranged a bus service which picks up children from various locations in Amsterdam South and Amstelveen. Their South-East location on Darlingstraat 2 is usually the only campus that does have availability.
    • Optimist International School in Hoofddorp has moved to their own new building on Waddenweg 87. They can usually offer a spot to new children in the area.
    • Amity International School Amsterdam opened last September their Senior School for children aged 11-13 years old. Amity will apply to become a candidate school for the IB Middle Years Programme and later, the IB DP following the current candidacy for the PYP.
    • The British School of Amsterdam (BSA) has postponed its move into the new building to 21 April 2021. So, we’ll have to wait a little longer, but their new campus on Havenstraat 6 will be really kick-ass. I got the honour to visit the new campus while they were still renovating the former prison monument. It is truly amazing!
    • The Leiden Region will receive a second International Primary School. The school will be built in the vicinity of the Bioscience Park, with the initiative striving to start up during the 2019-2020 school year. More info will follow soon.

Moving to the Netherlands

Will you MOVE TO THE NETHERLANDS soon to start your new dream job?

Through the Guide2nl you can get nice discounts on the services you need. 

For example, first let Expatrentals find a suitable house for you. You could use Wittenberg Aparthotel as your home base while you are searching for the right apartment.
Tips4Expat will help you prepare and get you started. Then Atlas International Movers will ship all your belongings safely and efficiently. Kroes Advocaten Immigration Lawyers will help you with all legal aspects of your move. While you are waiting for the sea container with your furniture to arrive, Furniture Lease will make sure you won’t need to sit on the floor. Will you qualify for the 30% discount on your income tax? JAN© Accountants and Tax Advisors will get you sorted.

Start your year in a fresh way with the traditional New Year’s Dive into the North Sea on January 1st:

Start the new year in a fresh way with the New years dive into the North Sea.

NEW2NL: LOOKING FORWARD TO NAVIGATING YOU THROUGH 2020!