Netherlands: Employer challenges to “crisis levy” imposed on salaries

"Crisis levy" on salaries in Netherlands

According to a November 2015 opinion of the Advocate General in a test case pending before the Dutch Supreme Court, the “crisis levy” violates certain provisions of EU law.

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Crisis levy

The “crisis levy” applied for both 2013 and 2014, and was imposed as a one-time employer-level assessment at a rate of 16% on salaries and wages exceeding €150,000 paid for the preceding years of 2012 and 2013, respectively. Many employers filed objections against the crisis levy, and these are being litigated as test cases (although certain individual cases are also pending).

According to the Advocate General in the November 2015 opinion, the crisis levy violated the right to property that is protected under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the European Convention of Human Rights. The Advocate General concluded that the retroactive effect of the crisis levy could not be justified. 

What's next?

With the release of the Advocate General’s opinion, the next step will be for the Supreme Court to render a final decision in this test case. If the Supreme Court follows the Advocate General’s Opinion, this could—in some situations—provide opportunities for refunds of a portion of the crisis levy for those employers that had filed a notice of objection against the crisis levy.


Read a November 2015 report prepared by the KPMG member firm in the Netherlands: Crisis levy 2014 contrary to ECHR, according to Advocate General Wattel

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