Have you received an invitation from the tax authorities stating that you must file an income tax return for the year 2020?
If you received an invitation from the tax authorities to file a tax return then you have to do this. In principle, you can file a tax return from 1 March to 1 May. If you didn’t live in the Netherlands the whole year the standard deadline is 1 July.
Update 5 March 2021:
The tax authorities extend the term to file tax returns for 2020 by one week due to the disruption in their online services. Many people were bothered by this who wanted to file their tax return this week. The submission period now runs until 8 May, instead of 1 May.
If you file a tax return before 1 April, the tax authorities will ensure that you will receive a response from them before 1 July. If you file a tax return after 1 April, the tax authorities aim to respond within three months. You will first receive a provisional tax assessment, which is based on your tax return. The final assessment will be imposed no later than 3 years after the end of the tax year. In the mean time the tax authorities can decide to audit your tax return and request additional information as proof for tax deductions which have been claimed or income which has been declared.
Since it is not always possible to file the tax return before the deadline a time extension can be requested.
If you can’t make the deadline just write a letter to the tax authorities or call them stating that you need some extra time. The tax authorities will then give you a time extension until 1 September 2021 (or 1 November 2021 if you are not living in the Netherlands). You don’t have to give a specific reason. If necessary you can get an extra time extension again if the date of 1 September can’t be made either. For this additional time extension you will have to provide a reason.
Registered tax advisors like Expatax have a special time extension arrangement with the tax authorities. This arrangement implies that registered tax advisors can arrange a time extension for all their clients at the same time (with one request) up to May 1 of the next year. So for the tax return of 2020 we can arrange a time extension up to May 1, 2022 if you hire us to prepare your tax return.
What happens if you do not file a tax return or only after the deadline?
If you do not request a time extension and you do not file a tax return before the deadline, the tax authorities will make an assessment based on an estimated income. On top of that you risk a fine.
Before the tax authorities do this, you will first receive a reminder in which the tax authorities request you to file a tax return. If you fail to do so, a reminder will follow. It contains a new term within which you can file the declaration.
Do you actually have to file a tax return?
It depends on your personal situation whether you have to file a tax return. You must in any case file a tax return if you have been invited to do so by the tax authorities.
Even if you have not received an invitation, you may still have to file a tax return if you owe the tax authorities more than € 46. This can be the case if you have income which has not been taxed yet like for example business profit, income from other sources, alimony etc.
If you get 16 euros or more back and you actually want to receive it, it is wise to file a tax return. The tax authorities do not pay amounts lower than 16 euros. You can claim a tax refund if you have certain tax deductions or if you haven’t worked or lived in the Netherlands the whole year. You have 5 years to file a tax return in this situation which means that the 2020 tax return would have to be filed the latest on 31 December 2025.