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The Netherlands: Tax burden on leaving bonuses for professional soccer players

By Dr Rijkele Betten Recently, several Netherlands soccer clubs have complained about the taxes that are due on leaving bonuses paid to leaving professional players. For some time, it has been the common practice for players’ contracts to include a provision, which would entitle a leaving player to part of the transfer sum paid by a new club. Both club and player would benefit: the club did not have to pay these amounts upfront, but could wait until liquidity became available; and the player would receive a significant amount when leaving to join a new club (playing in a more valuable competition). These arrangements now are covered by new wage tax arrangements in The Netherlands. The Netherlands legislator wanted to stop the phenomenon that older employees would receive lump sum payments in order to make them leave their job before their pension date. This was achieved by imposing a penalty on the employer making the payment. The penalty amounts to 75% of the leaving bonus. Also, the player himself will have to pay Netherlands income tax at the rate of 52%, so that the Netherlands tax revenue, in effect, receives an amount that is well above the leaving bonus – an aggregate of 127% of the bonus! This tax consequence is said to be an obstacle for renewing contracts with young promising players in The Netherlands. So, the clubs are asking the Netherlands Soccer Association to discuss this issue with the Dutch Tax Authorities and Parliament. It will be interesting to see what the outcome of this move will be!   Dr Rijkele Betten is an International Tax Consultant and the Proprietor and Managing Editor of ‘Global Sports Law and Taxation Reports’ and may be contacted by e-mail at ‘This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.’.
The Journal

Global Sports Law and Taxation Reports feature: articles; comparative surveys; commentaries on topical sports legal and tax issues and documentation.

The unique feature of Global Sports Law and Taxation Reports is that this Journal combines for the first time up to-date valuable and must-have information on the legal and tax aspects of sport and their interrelationships.

The Editors

The editors of  the Journal Sports Law & Taxation are Professor Ian Blackshaw and Dr Rijkele Betten, with specialist contributions from the world's leading practitioners and academics in the sports law and taxation fields.

The Editors

Managing editor
Dr. Rijkele Betten

Consulting editor
Prof. Dr. Ian S. Blackshaw

Editorial board

Prof. Guglielmo Maisto
Maisto e Associati, Milano

Dr. Dick Molenaar
All Arts Tax Advisors, Rotterdam


Mr. Kevin Offer
Hardwick & Morris LLP, London

Mr. Mario Tenore
Maisto e Associati, Milano


Nolot BV
St. Jorisstraat 11
5211 HA  's-Hertogenosch
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