End-of-year check on salary expats

Check whether the salary of a (foreign) employee using the 30% ruling meets the income standard of 2021. If this is not the case, the 30%-ruling will expire retroactive to January 1.

If you wish to use the 30% ruling for an employee coming to the Netherlands, this employee must have a specific expertise, among other things. To demonstrate this specific expertise, an income standard applies, which is indexed annually.

Income standard 2021

In 2021, there is a specific expertise if the employee has a taxable annual salary that exceeds € 38,961, excluding the tax free allowance.

For employees who have obtained a Dutch master’s degree in scientific education or an equivalent foreign degree, and who are younger than 30 years of age, the taxable annual salary must be more than € 29,616, excluding the tax free allowance.

Lower wage

During the term of the decision you must assess whether the employee still meets the income standard. If the salary in any year is lower than the indexed standard, the 30% ruling will expire with retroactive effect to January 1 of that year. You must then correct your previous declarations. If the employment contract starts or ends during a calendar year, you must recalculate the salary to an annual salary.

If the employee later satisfies the income standard again, you may no longer apply the 30% ruling.

Tax-free allowance lower than 30%

The tax-free allowance is up to 30%. This means that the allowance can also be calculated based on a lower percentage. If the taxable salary is lower than the income standard, this may be corrected by calculating the tax-free allowance based on a lower percentage. The net salary of the employee is then lower but the employee remains eligible for the 30% ruling. In any case, the employer’s costs will not increase as opposed to the possibility of increasing the gross salary or making an additional payment.


In case of a lower wage caused by parental leave and maternity leave, you can use the wage that the employee would receive without this leave. For a lower salary that is caused by birth leave, supplementary birth leave, foster care leave and adoption leave, you can, as of 1 July 2020, assume the salary that the employee would enjoy without this leave.


Do you need help with processing the 30% ruling in your payroll or do you want Expatax to take care of your payroll, please contact us.

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