Freelancers feel ‘second-class citizens’ in new budget: FD

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Some freelancers are unhappy with the government’s proposed budget saying it will prioritise traditional employees and cut into already tight bottom lines.

The expected budget will treat self-employed people as ‘second-class citizens’, Roos Wouters, director of the Werkvereniging, told the FD. Her group represents the interests of the self-employed, or ZZPers as they are known in Dutch.

Next year’s budget proposal, which leaked partially on Wednesday, is set to speed up the reduction of a self-employed tax-free allowance.

The current standard deduction is €6,310 and the government had been planning to reduce that in steps until it reached only €1,200 by 2030. In 2021, the deduction was €6,670. The new budget proposes a drop of €650, nearly double that of the previous year.

‘As I read it, that would now be twice as much,’ tax specialist Frank Werger of BDO told the FD.

Wouters says this could be disastrous for entrepreneurs who have little time to prepare for the change, many of whom are coming out of a financially difficult period during the pandemic. The government predicts the acceleration will put €170 million into its coffers next year, nearly €100 million more than originally planned.

The government has declared war on the self-employed

It is not yet clear what the overall burden on freelancers will be. The proposed budget is thought to include increases in the rent and health care allowance and a reduction in income tax too.

Some 1.1 million people work as freelancers in the Netherlands, about 13% of the total workforce. That number has been steadily increasing since 2003.

The budget will be announced officially in the third week of September.

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