Making sense of municipality taxes

Being an international student in the Netherlands requires a lot of arranging which can lead to frustrations. EM provides tips and tricks to ease your stay in the Netherlands. This week in our Survival Guide: making sense of municipality taxes.

If you rent a room, apartment or even a house it does not matter if you are a student or not a student, because every new year the letters regarding municipality taxes land on your doorstep. Multiple institutions charge these municipality taxes and therefore, these letters can be confusing. So, which institution charges what, what do you pay them and what is it that they do with your money?

Two institutions

There are two kinds of organizations that charge you with municipality taxes.

  1. City Council Rotterdam (in Dutch: gemeente Rotterdam).
  2. Regional Tax Group (in Dutch: Regionale Belasting Groep).

Important note: The Regional Tax Group is a rather newly established overarching institution which consists of two separate organizations namely, Hoogheemraadschap van Delfland and Hoogheemraadschap Schieland en Krimpenerwaard.

What are the taxes these institutions charge for?

City Council Rotterdam

The congregation collects a variety of taxes. For renters and thus, students only the trash taxes (in Dutch: afvalstoffenheffing) are charged. These taxes are used to assimilate trash and waste as well as pick up the trash.

Regional Tax Group

The Regional Tax Group collects the water board taxes (in Dutch: hoogheemraadschappen) of the regions Delfland, Schieland and Krimpenerswaard.

The water board taxes are used to keep you from getting wet feet by strong dykes as well as making sure the water stays clean.

There are two types of water board taxes that you have to pay:

1.    Water system levy (in Dutch: Watersysteemheffing).

2.    Pollution taxes (in Dutch: Zuiveringsheffing / Verontreiningsheffing)

Important note: If you live in the area of Krimpenerwaard, then you also pay Road Levy (in Dutch: Wegenheffing).

How much are the taxes?

All taxes are calculated for an entire year, so 12 months.

Trash taxes / Afvalstoffen heffing

In 2012, the trash taxes were € 315,40 per household.

Water board taxes / Hoogheemraadschappen

In 2012 the following amounts were charged for water board taxes.

1.    Water system levy: € 75,58

2.    Pollution taxes: € 56,00

Whereas the trash taxes are calculated in years or months, the water board taxes are calculated in pollution units (in Dutch: verontreinigings eenheden (ve)).

Tip: The Regional Tax Group uses a pollution unit of 3 for every household with 2 or more people. So, if you see a pollution unit of 3 while you only have one roommate, do not contact the Regional Tax Group because that is no use. The difference between 2 or 3 or even more people living in the same apartment is so small, that three pollution units are charged.

Important note: These amounts change every year. So, these amounts are just an indication.

Can you apply for remission?

Under certain conditions you can apply for remission (in Dutch: kwijtschelding) at both institutions.

City Council Rotterdam

Two situations can apply:

1. You rent a roomIf you rent a room, your landlord is responsible for the taxes. However, he or she may make you pay the trash taxes (if it is in your contract) since you are the one using the room. But, this means that you yourself cannot apply for remission since you are not the one responsible for the taxes. This means that you have to pay the trash taxes if it states so in your contract.

2. You rent an entire apartment

If you are eligible for remission depends on a variety of factors, one of which is income. You can apply for remission online via your mijn toeslagen account.

Tip: by filling in this calculation program you know it it makes sense to even apply for remission. Note: this form is in Dutch, make sure someone helps you out.

Regional tax Group

Like with the Congregation, for the Regional Tax Group if you are eligible for remission depends on your income.

Important note: you can only apply for remission for water system levy, so not for the pollution taxes.

If you think your income is too low to pay the water system levy, you can apply online or by filling in the card attached to the bill. The Regional Tax Group will calculate if indeed your income is low enough to be eligible for remission.

Important note: You have to apply within two months after receiving the water system levy bill.

How do you pay?

City Council Rotterdam

There are several options for paying the trash taxes:

1. Automatic and monthly payments can be requested here and may be suitable if you do not want to pay the full amount all at once. You can also fill in the form regarding automatic payments which is attached to the letter with the bill.

2. By using the deposit-transfer card attached with the letter, you can pay the full amount all at once.

3. It is possible to pay in cash at the counter at the Congregation Rotterdam office.

Contact details

Belastingen gemeente Rotterdam

Blaak 34 (ingang mindervaliden: Wijnstraat 75)

3011TA Rotterdam

Tip: opening hours are from 08.30 AM till 16.30 PM.

4. You can pay from a foreign account.

Important note: Make sure you arrange the payments way before the deadline since it may take longer to transfer the money from one foreign bank to another. Also, do not forget to mention the IBA- en BIC- number.

5.Everything can also be arranged online, which is one of the easiest options. An account can be created here:

Tip:  In order to pay your municipality taxes online, you need a DigiD account. Do you not have one? Apply for one at first.

Tip: Online everything is in Dutch, so make sure you have someone who speaks Dutch well enough to help you in order to avoid mistakes.

Regional tax Group

There are several options for paying the taxes once you receive the letter from the Regional tax Group with the correct amounts.

1. You can pay by deposit-transfer card which is always attached with the letter.

2. You may use online banking. You can use all the information on the deposit-transfer card to do this correctly.

Tip: if you pay from abroad, mention the NWB SWIFT code as well as the IBAN number.

3. There is an option of paying in cash. Then you have to go by their office in either Delft or Rotterdam.

Tip: The opening hours are from Monday to Friday 09:00 – 12:30 and 13:30 to 16:00.

Contact details:

Delft office

Phoenixstraat 32

2611 AL Delft

PO Box 2929

2601 CX Delft

t. 088-291 10 00

Rotterdam office

Maasboulevard 123

3063 GK Rotterdam

Postbus 8770

3009 AT Rotterdam

t. 088-291 10 00