Thursday, June 26, 2008

Oh happy day!

I was approved for the 30% ruling!! I can actually afford to live here! Yay!

For those of you who are not familiar with this ordeal (yet one more amongst the many since I've decided to move here), let me start from the beginning.

I knew coming out here that the government takes out a lot of taxes... I just didn't realize how much. In Holland they take out between 47-52% of taxes from your salary. When I received my first paycheck and saw half of it gone to taxes, I was dumbfounded. However, I took courage in the fact that expats receive a tax break where 30% of your salary is tax free... that is if you are qualified.

So, soon after receiving my first paycheck, I filled in my qualifications (ie. why it was essential to hire me as opposed to having hired a Dutch person) on a template letter the company wrote for the tax authorities. Around this same time, I was in the process of acquiring health insurance. Thankfully, the health insurance company requested my residency permit which I knew I needed (so I wouldn't be shipped back to the States -- and was also necessary to provide to the tax authorities), but didn't know when/how I'd receive it. After requesting the assistance of my HR representative, we found out that the government sent an invitation letter to pick up my permit to the apartment that I was scammed out of. (Ugh!) They faxed another copy of the letter to me, and I saw that I had exactly 5 more days before I would no longer be allowed to pick up my permit, since they put a time limit on it. Once I picked up my permit, (heaving a sigh of relief for not having to move back to the US so soon), I then had all the necessary documentation to send to the tax authorities.

A few weeks after the request was sent in I received an email from the third party corporation who is the go-between to the tax authorities. It warned me that I may not receive the tax break because I was lacking in a few necessary requirements. A) I only had 2 years of experience in the field instead of 2.5 and B) I didn't make the minimum salary requirement. I was utterly discouraged. I didn't know how I'd survive here without it... there was no way I'd be able to travel, which was the number one reason I came out here.

The very next week I received my health insurance. I received a letter along with it stating that Dutch law requires all residents to have insurance from the moment they arrive. They further stated that I have to send them a back pay for the past 3 months of living here, although I didn't have insurance until the day I received that letter. At that point I started second guessing if moving to Amsterdam was the right decision to have made. I thought back upon every rocky event that had transpired from the moment I decided to come out here, and realized that I needed more than two hands to count them all. I was beyond words at that point. Discouragement was a happy emotion in regards to how I felt.

So, you can somewhat sense my elation as I read the letter from the third party vendor saying, "We are pleased to inform you that the Dutch tax authorities have granted you the 30% ruling." I put down the letter and started dancing my "I'm so happy I can't contain myself dance". Glad I was alone in my apartment, since I have two left feet and would have been quite a sight to see.


Danielle said...

I would have paid good money to see you dance! But I am so hapy that everything worked out in the end. I told you, you made the right decision. As hard as that was for me to say, but I said it! Love you!

Jamie said...

It may have been a rocky road, but think of all the things you learned. Now, if you ever want to move to a foreign country again, it will be a breeze! (hopefully) Glad everything is going well, I enjoy reading your blog.