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Netherlands – Make life easier for contractors, politician says

03 September 2012

Independent contractors (known as ZZP’ers) in the Netherlands should be able to qualify for tax relief in a more accessible way, the Dutch Labour Party said on the weekend, after the MP Mei Li Vos has taken an interest in supporting independent contractors.

The Labour MP, part of the opposition, said that in order to qualify for tax relief contractors should not be assessed on the hours they have worked but rather on the earnings they have made. Current legislation has it that independent contractors have to work a certain amount of hours to be eligible for tax relief as the Government hopes to avoid fraud in the industry in this way.

But Ms Vos criticised that this was not efficient enough as hours worked could be manipulated.  She therefore lobbied for a change in the law, which would instead look at the profits contractors have made. She argued that this would also cut down administrative duties for self-employed people.

Over the weekend other politicians in the country have argued for change. Fatma Koşer Kaya of the Democratic Party (D66) said contractors should also be allowed to receive pension payments and disability funds.

This comes after the conservative-liberal coalition party VVD recently said it wanted to improve pension schemes for independent contractors. It proposed that ZZP’ers should be able to be part of a collective pension scheme to build up a pension at lower costs.

ZZP’ers determine their own terms of employment, such as hourly rates, and are also responsible for paying their own social security contributions and taxes. There are almost one million ZZP’ers in the country and in 2010 they represented just under 10% of the total Dutch workforce.

The number of independent contractors has rapidly grown at a rate of 5.3% per year since 2004 due to the Flexibility and Security Act which aimed to foster more entrepreneurship in the country.

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