Now that you’ve gotten your residence permit and applied for health insurance, you’re probably thinking, what’s next? Good ole taxes, that’s what. Yup, you’re an official resident renting in the Netherlands now, so it’s time to cough up your fair share of the infrastructure cost. Oh, the daunting mysteries of Dutch bureaucracy. What to do and how to do it? Living overseas can be so overwhelming! No need to fret, I’ve gone through the process, and I’m here to share what I’ve learned so keep reading.
There are two different taxes you are responsible for paying as a ‘primary’ leaseholder officially registered in the Netherlands.
Waste Collection Tax
Every year, a tax for household waste management, (afvalstoffenheffing) is assessed. Shortly after you obtain a lease and register with the municipality in your region, you will receive a letter from the Gemeente, outlining your obligations and payment options. As always, any communication from a government entity is in Dutch. Look at it this way; it’s prime practice text. Again, remember that Google Translate is your friend.
Cost & Payment
As of 2017, afvalstoffenheffing in Amsterdam (varies by municipality) is €235 for a single dwelling and €313 for a multi-dwelling, per year, appropriately prorated, if needed. I think that’s fair. Someone has to foot the bill for the collection, processing, and disposal of all the crap we generate.
I also think it’s pretty egalitarian that every person officially registered at a residence is taken into account when determining its dwelling type, even if they are not a lessor. All parties deciding to share an apartment should know that remitting payment is the sole responsibility of the primary leaseholder. Well, who is the primary leaseholder if there are multiple lessors, you ask? It's the person who is registered at the location longest, which seems normal and reasonable. However, if multiple people sign a lease together and are registered at the same time, the eldest gets the title. Seems ageist to me, but hey when in Rome!
Okay now most important, how do you pay? Bank transfer (a digital practice used quite frequently by the Dutch) and automatic debit from your bank account are the only permissible payment options. Another reason why it’s imperative that you open a personal account with a Netherlands based bank. You can opt to pay the full amount or request up to eight monthly installments.
The other obligatory renter based taxes go toward regional water management and sanitation. “Voor veilige dijken, voldoende en schoon water”, in English that means – “For safe dikes, adequate and clean water.” See! Google Translate. Anyway, I digress. Upon registration as the primary leaseholder, you will receive a letter from the Water Board (Waternet) which include two water tax cost. Water tax (wasterschapsbelasting) for the management of the dijken (levy where I’m from!) is sent to each household every year. Your residence classification will determine the second water tax type. Residences that are connected to the sewage network are charged a water purification tax (zuiveringsheffing) and those that are not, receive a pollution tax (verontreinigingsheffing).
*Water usage is separate and is managed separately by your local water supplier.
Cost & Payment
Let’s practice our broken Dutch, shall we? Basic waterschapsbelasting in Amsterdam (2017) for both a single and multi-dwelling, rounded out to a whopping €108 per year. Zuiveringsheffin is €53 for a single dwelling and €153 for a multi-dwelling. I’m not sure what fee is associated with verontreinigingsheffing since we are connected to the sewage network. You can check with your local water board for details if your situation fits the bill.
Who is ultimately responsible for the cost? Same deal, the primary leaseholder. Method of payment varies by the municipality, but the Waternet in the city of Amsterdam accepts bank transfer or automatic debit from your bank account set-up through DigiD. Again, you can pay the full amount or request up to eight monthly installments.
That’s all to it. Not so bad once you understand how to navigate the correct channels. You can do this whole living abroad thing! Ask any question on waste and water taxes down below in our comment section and we will guide you to the correct resources.