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The Netherlands: Court denies application of special income tax regime to left-footed defense player

A Netherlands Court of Appeal refused to apply for the year 1999 the special Netherlands income tax regime for incoming employees to a professional left-footed defends football player. Under the special income tax regime, basically 35% of the taxpayer?s income could be considered as a tax-free reimbursement of ? fictitious ? costs. Through this regime, the tax burden for incoming high-income professionals can be reduced for a period of maximally 10 years. A condition for obtaining the special income tax regime is that the employee has specific qualities, which can not or hardly be found on the Netherlands labour market. For determining whether the football payer qualified for the special income tax regime, the Court of Appeal of Leeuwarden gave in its decision of 13 February 2003 much weight to the salary level of the football player. The Court found that the salary of the player (which amounted to NLG 282.038), was considerably lower than the average salary in the highest Netherlands Football League (in 1999 apparently NLG 570.000). Therefore, the Court held that the employee was not sufficiently special to qualify for the application of the special income tax regime. It should be noted that from 2001 the applicable percentage for determining the tax-free reimbursement has been reduced to 30%. The requirements for obtaining the special tax regime have been codified, but have basically remained unchanged.

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