Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The BLUE POST


It comes and it goes… it slips every once in awhile into your mailbox and later into your bank account or purse. As soon as you see it, with just a slight exposure of its tip and even its shadow… you knew right away exactly who it was.

The Belastingdienst's (Dutch Tax Department) mail always comes in a Blue Post. It’s one way of stressing out a point, color coded mail. Haha Brilliant.

And so it is... The blue post strikes again. It has again reminded me of my duty as a certified taxpayer and resident of this flat country. I, the Dutched Pinay must file my income tax return (ITR) before the end of April 2005. Ah,… the ultimate trepidation of every clog head and tax-paying living resident in the Netherlands.

For the record, this is my 2nd year of ITR filing in my 2.5 collective years of stay in this country.

The Netherlands, known as one of the world’s best and legitimate income tax bandits, is very persuasive. Persuasive enough in keeping its populace under control, fraught and living in fear from the sharp and zealous eyes of the Belastingdienst (Tax Department). Wait, I shouldn’t say, one of the world’s best since there is nothing to rejoice in this, right? In reality it is downright absurdity, a blasphemy, especially from a viewpoint of someone coming from praetorian Philippines. ---It’s lesser money in the portomonee (purse). Wah!

DUTCH INCOME TAX TABLES for 2005 only

(above 65 years old has a different tax table)

Table 1: Taxable by 34.5%
Yearly Income of € 16.893 and below

Table 2: Taxable by 41.95%
Yearly Income starting € 16.894 to € 30.357

Table 3: Taxable by 42%
Yearly Income starting € 30.358 to € 51.762

Table 4: Taxable by 52%
Yearly Income starting € 51.763 and over

Forex: US$ 1.00 = € 0.77

Now you know why them, Dutch are so very tight down there…. in the purse!

This must be the mother of all culture shock sacrilege I experienced in Dutchland. I have never EVER paid so much money to a government! If only mutiny can be licensed… but it is not. Well back home in the Philippines the citizenry manipulate the ITR, so this is somewhat like a payback time for me. I need to get used to being honest with my taxes, lol.


The only pleasing thing in this Belastingdienst’s due diligence is the cool ITR online filing facility. You can say once and for all, “Goodbye postal system!”


I filed online last year and I will do it online again this year.

52 comments:

  1. Anonymous3:57 am

    Ella...naks...okey lemme guess, you and the dutchman are in the table 4 bracket. But don't you get any tax deductible say tax break from your car, yacht or home etc.? O yes we do have e-file here too. No more going to the post office alright.Joe2Par

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous9:21 am

    JOE: hhmm secret hehe. you get tax reductions with your FIRST house mortgage ONLY, other than that.. all succeeding assets and investments over € 17K are taxed at 1.2% (wealth tax). so whichever tax bracket you belong to is the same % you get back for your FIRST house mortgaged.

    i think also if you have kids, you get a tax reduction, but sadly we dont have any dependent. there are other ways of getting tax money back too, but its tricky. the more you earn here, the more you are robbed!!! the lesser you earn, the more subsidy you get. thats socialization in NL, a one big happy family haha. the tax dept is very sharp, the systems are centralized and they can monitor your financial movement with your social security number. any amount deposited and drawn out from your bank account that doesnt hold any solid basis, they will question. so the rich ones are doing off shore banking in luxembourg and switzerland (especially here since they have bank secrecy), but the tax dept have their own intelligence to conduct surveillance on these monied people. its a long ending battle, lol.

    my american friend from NY was shocked with the standard of living here (expensive), the high taxes, the lifestyle (going on vacation 2x a year), and the income levels here (failry low compared to NY). she could not understand how people could enjoy life. then she learned and realized why the dutch are FRUGAL, lol. - MissT

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  3. am just filling up the form for a tax rabate,,I pay enourmous tax and I have not worked over 2 months I wont tell you which category of tax I belong ;-)
    Its not just in Holland the rate you have stated, Norway is even higher!! and I am moving there.. have I gone nuts?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hehe, how lucky I am being a student, getting money FROM the government instead of paying it TO them! Lovely invention, studiefinanciering!! Anyhow, we always have a guy coming over every year to fill in the tax forms so we get it right (this includes getting some money back some years)! This is a recommendation;)!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous3:40 pm

    SHA: ya i know! Norway has huge taxes (and these other scandinavian countries, NL is just a runner-up! lol). the higher u go up geographically in europe, the higher the taxes are. its crazy. I think the highest is 60% there. Years back the highest tax bracket in NL was 60% and there was a so called rebellion by the high incomers, so they lowered it to 52%.

    Dont u get a tax rebate for only working 2 months? Unless of course you are earning WAAAY much, hehe

    ELJA: i like the studiefinanciering here in NL. you can get a loan for your studies at the same time allowance! But only up to a certain age, i think 30? And you guys also get huge discounts from universities/colleges as a citizen or resident.

    In my maatschappij orientatie (soceity orientation) classes, we were told that we can always go to the municipal hall if we need help in filing the ITR form. They offer free counsel.

    TO JOE: additional re: car tax rebates, i think u can get a rebate on this if u personally owned ur car, but the system here in NL is that transportation costs (gasoline, train tickets) are paid by almost all employers, so these are taken cared of, you do not pay for these anymore. If u get a lease car however from the company, it is deemed as additional income by the tax dept, so u are asked to pay an annual tax on it. the tax u have to pay is dependent on the amount of the car and ur income tax bracket. It is always relative to your income.

    MissT

    ReplyDelete
  6. errr...that sucks! and aside from that, you have to pay for your retirement because you have no social security coverage? oppps, im a bit lost.

    here, around 22% (revenu taxes not included) of my salary is deducted and that covers almost everything. a good part of the social charges is actually paid by the company. it also pays for my mutuelle (complementary insurance), which means that for medical needs, the part which is not covered by the social security will be reimbursed by the mutuelle. retirement coverage is also included in that %.

    im not paying revenu taxes yet (one year tax exemption for neophytes hehe) but i dont think that these % combined would represent the same % as in NL. oh my! when i look at those brackets, im still glad that im working here. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous6:57 pm

    Miss T,
    there's nothing in this world more inevitable than DEATH AND TAXES........

    lewlew

    ReplyDelete
  8. No No i mean I havent been working for 2 months since I left my last job ay 3rd month na pala end of January. I didnt claim incapability nor job allowance so I can file a tax rebate.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous9:13 pm

    ANA: the government assisted pension/retirement is already included in the taxes we pay. the "other" pension/retirement i am referring to before was the "private" pension/retirement that i share the premium with my employer. the government pension is not enough if we want to maintain the "same" lifestyle as now when we retire.

    i think the social security structure of NL is much closely related to the scandinavian countries than the mainland EU (and UK) countries. its a small country very close knit with a "one big happy family goal" lol. its like ur a member of the family so u are allowed to avail of the safety nets "if" something ill happens to you. a good example would be if you get laid off... the government then will take u into their custody under the social welfare family of umbrellas. they will i think for 2 years pay 70% of your last salary earned until u get another job. then after lets say 2 years and you still dont have a job, your status will become what we call here a "bijstand" which is still elligible for social welfare but it will no longer be 70% of your last salary earned, it will be lower... and this goes on until you are able to find a job. just imagine if someone is lazy, they can just sit on their butt and receive money from the government! oh well, this is but one example of how the "one happy socialized family" in NL works, lol.

    LEWLEW: yeah you are right... and dont forget the inevitable -> INLAWS (and SDs, SSs) hehe. of course KIDS too, if you want! :-)

    MissT

    ReplyDelete
  10. High taxes are a problem all over Europe. Whereas in America, we view taxes as the devil reincarnate, I've noticed that many Europeans have just learned to live with it as a fact of life.

    Except, of course, in Italy. People think it's soccer, but in reality the national sport of Italy is cheating the tax code. It really is an art form here.

    Rik

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous9:28 pm

    doesn't that prod you to consider having kids?...

    ReplyDelete
  12. Anonymous10:58 pm

    RIK: right, people in this part of the world just live and accept the high taxes is as good as "real life".

    the tax collector stories during the old roman period came to my mind. people stay away from them because they are corrupt! lol

    ANONYMOUS: nope, no plan for kids now and for the future. but who knows we change our minds? ;-)

    MissT

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anonymous11:58 pm

    ARghHHhhh belasting :@ I hate it :D

    but we can get the taxes that we've ever paid back once in a year if u ask an accountant to do it ;) that's what I usually do every year :)

    echa

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anonymous12:36 am

    Miss T,
    No kids for me . Thanks. SD traumatized me more than enough that I am scared that my own kid would turn out to be like her and some of my villain(ess), lol! Inlaws and SS are cool.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yup, I think we can ask for studiefinanciering until we're 26, so we can get it until we're 30 or sth? We can't get it over 4 years...
    True, the international students in my class have to pay 1000 Euro extra per year for studying here... but does this mean Dutch people get a discount or international students just have to pay more??

    ReplyDelete
  16. yep tax rates in denmark is high, but the state does afford you more benefits so that compensates for it.

    hehehe, hooray for online filing!!! :D

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anonymous5:34 pm

    we've got the same system here. 2 yrs = 70%, then after so and so yrs, it will be such %, until it hits the lowest, called RMI (revenu moyen d'insertion) here which is calculated in function of the number of members in the family. so actually, those active people are paying for those inactive people - we call it social charges! i share the same view, it's like they're inciting people here to be lazy...there's no sense of responsibility!

    that 'private' retirement plan, my company is equally paying for that. i guess it's their way of justifying their mass prod transfer in asia, they could still proudly say that they take care of their employees!

    what i find funny here is that if you've got a nanny for your kid, you could normally ask for a 30% reimbursement of the total charges from the government. that's how far they could go with their liberté EGALITE and fraternité thing...and yet, these hard-to-please frenchies still complain!

    ReplyDelete
  18. LEW: oh my, that SD needs to be extradited lol.

    ELJA: i may be wrong and u could be right hehe. i have wanted to study further here in NL but its expensive. i havent asked yet if i can avail of the discount since i am not a dutch or european citizen.

    MELL: its netherlands not denmark! :-) but they too have high taxes there, so its the same.

    yes i heard about the online filing too in the usa.

    ANA: true, it promotes some lazy people to be more lazy! but honestly speaking, here in NL i notice that its the foreigners that are lazy. i dont want to mention which race or nationality but tingin ko naintindihan mo ako lol.

    it sounds like we have mastered the art of complaining haha!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous1:36 pm

    MissT, i wonder if you have the so-called religious taxes. here in Austria the Roman Catholic church chase its faithful's neck to pay church tax, an added burden. am planning to leave the fold as soon as possible.--elen the anonymous

    ReplyDelete
  20. Anonymous8:40 pm

    hey elen (long time!),

    i did hear about that church tax for roman catholics in austria (also in germany, right?). here in NL, we don't have that i think... but dutchman and i dont go to any church, lol. what u going to do? go to another church or, what?

    MissT

    ReplyDelete
  21. *embarrassed* whooops :) sorry! hahaha

    ReplyDelete
  22. Only thing I'm really going to miss when I leave my job here, Tax free income, tax free goods care of diplomatic supply. Haven't had to worry about this the past 5 years.

    hangang dito nalang, got lots of catching up to do

    ReplyDelete
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Hi, thank you for taking time.

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