3 October 2022 2 minutes
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Packing tips when moving abroad

Do you know how to pack when you are (temporarily) moving abroad? What to bring and what to leave behind? Chances are that you do not know what to pack and where to start, so to help you out, here are some tips for expats when packing to move abroad:

Tip 1. Start early with making a packing checklist

It is never too early to start preparing for something. Start by making a ‘to pack’ checklist today. You can make a physical one on paper, but we recommend making a digital one in the Notes app on your smartphone or in Word on your laptop. It is nice to already have one, even if you are still days (or weeks) from departure. This way you can always add things to your list if you think ‘oh, I must remember to pack this’.

Tip 2. Check the weather to pack climate-wise

Some expats tend to forget to check the climate of the country they’re moving to. For example, in the Netherlands we have a lot of rainy days. So if you’re moving here, you will have to bring clothes that are made for the rain and the cold.

We also have a maritime climate with mild summers and cold winters. So you have to make sure to pack clothes that fit the seasons in the Netherlands.

Check the climate of the country you’re moving to.

Tip 3. Do not pack (too many) things you can buy there

Try to think rationally when packing your suitcase. We get it that when packing, almost everything in your house and especially your closet might come in handy, but it is good to sometimes have a reality check with yourself. We promise you that it is easier to just buy a new bed cover abroad instead of using up much needed space with the one you have at home.

When packing clothes, try to bring good quality basics you can combine such as basic t-shirts and basic pants.

Tip 4. Roll, roll, roll your clothes

Roll as much as possible! Rolling your clothes saves a lot of space and it will give the clothes less wrinkles.

Tip: Use organizers in your suitcase.

Tip 5. Check prohibited items

Be aware of items you can not bring to the country of destination, by checking out the ‘prohibited items’ list of the airport you’re flying to and from. Some airports are stricter than others and the last thing you want is any problems at customs (and wasting useful space in your luggage).

Read here about what can not travel with you to Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands.

Tip 7. Check if your medicine is legal and if it needs any documents

If you are on any type of medication, there are a few things you need to make sure of:

  1. Check if your medicine is legal; your medicine might be illegal in certain countries. So make sure to check out local regulations before adding your medication to your luggage. The last thing you want is trouble at customs.
  2. Double up your prescription, just to be sure that you have enough until you have found a doctor abroad who can write you a new prescription.
  3. Check if you need a medicine passport or record. If you need one, you can ask your doctor or GP for this.

Another tip is to bring medicine with you in your hand luggage. Lately, airports have been very busy and your suitcase may get lost or arrive 1-2 days later. Prevent yourself from being stranded without medicine and bring some with you in your hand luggage.

Tip 8. Include documents and records in your ‘to pack’ list

Special papers, copies of your passport and other documents you have to bring: include it in your ‘to pack’ checklist. This way you will not forget any important documents and are able to double check if you have everything.

Store all your paperwork in a organizer to prevent yourself from losing it and from any damage.

Tip 9. Purchase the right adaptors

You might need a range of transformers/travel plugs. Purchasing these adaptors in advance, will save you the hassle of not being able to use your electrical devices when you reach the country of destination.

Things not to pack when moving abroad

Here are some examples of things we recommend you should leave behind.

  1. Any crockery such as plates, bowls and forks
  2. Pots and pans
  3. Bedding
  4. Toiletries such as make-up remover, deodorant, non-electric tooth brushes and razors
  5. Small furniture you can buy there such as vases, lamps and candleholders
  6. Electronics such as televisions and microwaves.

If packing and shipping is too expensive or too much of a hassle, you might want to consider rentals. Furniture rentals offer you a turn-key home as soon as you arrive, providing you anything you might need from furniture to (kitchen)appliances and everything in between.

If you need advice, please email us at info@toss-group.com or call or WhatsApp us on +31 20 261 9447.

12 September 2022 2 minutes
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Orientation year in the Netherlands

Some call it a search year, others will call it an orientation year: both terms are used to identify the same residence permit: one which gives you as a highly educated expat, one year to find a job or start a company in the Netherlands. An orientation year permit is interesting for anyone who recently obtained (or will obtain) a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or finished a science program.

What is an orientation year permit?

An orientation year permit allows recent bachelor’s and master’s graduates from countries outside the Netherlands the option to stay in the Netherlands for a period up to 12 months.

The orientation year permit is interesting because it gives you the freedom to work for any employer in the Netherlands. As opposed to highly skilled migrants, who are only allowed to work for a company that is registered with the IND and have the so-called recognized sponsorship. This gives you an exceptional position on the labor market, especially on the market of highly skilled expats who want, or are going, to work in the Netherlands.

Who can apply for the orientation year permit?

Anyone who meets one of the following conditions can apply for the orientation year visa:

  • You obtained a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the Netherlands;
  • You completed at least one academic year of a post Master’s program in the Netherlands;
  • You are a holder of a Master’s degree from one of the Erasmus Mundus Master courses;
  • You obtained a Master’s degree from one of the top 200 educational institutions in the world.

What if you (are going to) have a residence gap?

You are eligible up-to three years after obtaining your bachelor’s or master’s degree. So if you have plans on traveling abroad or to visit your country of origin, you do not have to worry about the eligibility, as long as you come back and apply within three years.

What to do if you want to prevent a residence gap

If you want to prevent a residence gap, you have to make sure that you have your purpose of stay adjusted to ‘highly skilled migrant’ before the end of your orientation year. This means that you have to find an IND recognized employer.

How to apply for the orientation year permit

Did you decide you want to apply for the orientation year permit? Do so within three years of graduating. You can apply by submitting an application form to the IND and do not forget to have all required documents.

Do you want to know more about the orientation year? Check our article on this: Orientation year for highly educated persons.

What if the employer you had during your orientation year is not recognized, but still wants to continue with you

Lucky for you, TOSS offers payroll solutions. We are a recognized sponsor and can convert your orientation year status to that of a highly skilled migrant with a reduced salary. On paper, we may become your formal employer, but meanwhile you work for the employer that offered you your dream job during your orientation year.

Looking for a job or IND sponsorship?

TOSS also has a recruitment department and we are happy to help you find your (new) job with a recognized employer. Feel free to send an email to jobs@toss-group.com.

 

If you need advice, please email us at info@toss-group.com or call or WhatsApp us on +31 20 261 9447.

31 August 2022 2 minutes
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7 Tips to help expat kids settle abroad

Moving to a new environment, having to leave your social circle behind and going to a new school with new children: a move within your own country already has a big impact on children. Let alone when you move to a completely different country. It is therefore understandable that, as a parent, you worry about your children when you move. Of course you want everything to run smoothly and you want your children to be happy. We have 7 tips to help your kids settle abroad.

Tip 1. Involve them in the moving process

Get and keep them involved! Children often get frustrated when moving house, because of a lack of control. Try to give them more control and involve them in the moving process. For example, let them unpack their own things and decorate their room, or ask for their opinion when choosing interiors (‘do you like the green or the white sofa better?’). This will make moving house more fun and later they will be able to proudly tell others what they have contributed to in the house.

Tip 2. Keep in touch with loved ones

Homesickness sucks. Just like for you, moving away from friends and family is also hard for children. The first few weeks or even months, the homesickness will be the worst and there will be times when they feel lonely. Therefore, try to keep in regular contact with friends and family. For example, schedule a time every weekend that you video call them together.

Video calls can be made via WhatsApp, Facetime (Apple users), Skype or Zoom.

Tip #3. Help make new friends

Besides maintaining contact with their old friends, it is also important to make new ones. This is always exciting, for both young and older children. Children are also reluctant to admit when they are struggling, and some children make friends more easily than others. Try to help them by scheduling playdates, going to public places like a pool or a park, and seeing if they might like to take up a hobby or sport. This will provide many opportunities to make new connections.

Tip #4. Routines

Before you moved, did you eat a traditional dish every Friday? Or did you read a bedtime story every night? Try to keep those routines. Children thrive on routines because it gives them a sense of security and stability. Plus, it’s always fun to start new routines. Here are some examples of routines you can do:

  • A weekly pancake day: on this day you make pancakes together.
  • A weekly creative day: on this day you do something creative together like painting, pottery, etc.
  • A weekly moment when you bake or cook something together.
  • Brushing teeth in the evening with a song they may choose.
  • Choosing outfits together for the next day.

Tip 5. Do new activities together

When you’re new somewhere, everything can still be scary and exciting. For children the world seems bigger than for adults. So go out together and explore the neighborhood and culture. Here are a few tips:

  • Walking through the neighborhood and looking for playgrounds
  • Going to a park for a picnic and to spot animals
  • Go to a local market, buy some delicacies and ingredients and then cook a recipe from home or from the country you live in now.

It is helpful to walk the same routes a few times during the first few weeks when exploring the neighborhood together. This helps children to recognize everything and makes them feel confident and at home. It is also useful, if they ever get lost, then they can easily find their way back.

Tip 6. Ask how things are really going

You know the situation, you ask your child how their day was and they say ‘good’, no more and no less. Choose a daily moment to talk to your child about their day, experiences and feelings. With more specific questions you will know more about what is going on, how they feel and if there is a need for more. Here are some examples of questions you can ask:

  • What was the best moment of the day?
  • What was the worst moment of the day?
  • What moment did you find challenging or exciting?
  • Who did you talk and play with at school?
  • How were the kids in your class and the teachers today?
  • Is there anything you would like more help with? (subjects at school, the language, culture…)

Tip #7. Have patience and empathy

Know when it is enough for your child. We understand that you want your child to feel at home as soon as possible and that it can be frustrating when your child refuses to cooperate because the solution is so close, but be patient and know when to take a step back. For children, sometimes it’s a lot to process as well. After all, some children adapt more quickly than others.

TOSS hopes that your children will be able to adapt quickly. Do you also have problems settling down in your new home and country? We also have some tips for you in our blog how to deal with loneliness when living abroad.

 

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7 Tips to overcome loneliness when living abroad

Moving to another place has a huge impact on your (social) life. And as an expat, you probably have traveled a very long way from home. Probably even further than most of your friends and family ever will. It is more than likely that at some point you will feel lonely, which makes sense and is completely normal. Even if you moved with or to your partner, it can still feel lonely from time to time. TOSS wants to help you out with tips on how to deal with loneliness.

Tip 1. Explore the neighborhood

You’re in a new environment and that can be quite overwhelming, especially if you’re not familiar with your surroundings. So let’s start with the basics: feeling at home. Try to explore the neighborhood and simply get out and about. Something that takes little effort, but will help enormously is going on walks in your neighborhood. It can be a short or a long walk, just try to walk every day for at least 15-30 minutes. This way you get to know the neighborhood better, little by little.

Tip 2. Be a local

Feeling like an outsider sometimes? Just fake it ‘til you make it! Try to frequently visit local cafés, markets and stores. This will not only help you get more familiar with your neighborhood, but it will also help you meet more people. You will also be welcomed by people in your neighborhood more quickly if you show your face everywhere.

Things you can do to feel like the local you are:

  • Learn the rules of living in your host country
  • Get involved with the people (join activities, do voluntary work..)
  • Learn the language
  • Become a regular at local places such as cafés, restaurants and markets

TripAdvisor is a site that may come in handy. The website is a must for finding activities, restaurants and events in any place of the world.

Tip 3. Activities and routines

Do you ever feel like you do not know where to start? Or like you do not know what you are doing or what to do? Routines create a feeling of safety and stability and joining shared activities may help you meet new people. We recommend to build a routine and join activities such as exercise classes and book/film/cook clubs. This way you will meet people who already have the same interests as you. Having a routine will also keep you busy, so that you won’t even have a chance to feel lonely.

Tip 4. Connect online

Another way to connect with more people is by joining online groups for people in your neighborhood and/or for expats who are in the same country you’re in. There are plenty of communities and chat groups on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Reddit. This way you will meet more people in your neighborhood and more people who are in your situation or have been in your situation.

There are also apps that can help you make friends such as Bumble, Lexa and Badoo.

Tip 5. Go out

Parties, markets, festivals, pubs.. you can meet people everywhere. You could for example walk into a public library or a cafe and start a small conversation with someone.

Just a tip from us, once or twice per year, IamExpat hosts the IamExpat Fair. It is interesting to attend whether you recently moved here or you’ve already lived here for quite some time. It is a great way to connect with expats and to meet companies who can help you with things such as school for your kids, a job, language courses and so much more.

The next Fair is on October 1st, 2022, and TOSS will also be there! You can find tickets via their website.

Tip 6. Adopt a pet

Who does not love a small, furry or scaly friend? People are less lonely with a pet. It makes your house more lively if you are living alone. If you want to, and are able to, get or adopt a pet. You can, for example, get a cat, dog, guinea pig, or a fish.

Keep in mind that a pet is a long term commitment and not just a solution to cope with loneliness.

Tip 7. Courses

This tip is, as the Dutch say, two flies in one clap. In the Netherlands, you do not necessarily need to learn the Dutch language, but it can come in handy and Dutch people will always appreciate it.

By following a language course, you meet more people who are more than likely also new to the country and the language. At the same time you learn the language better so that you can easily strike up a conversation with native speakers.

We recommend ExpatLanguageSchool.net for language lessons. TOSS in Holland customers who register with ExpatLanguageSchool with this code: TOSS, will receive 5% off their first contract with them.

Tip 8. Set goals

One person makes friends faster than another. Do you find it hard to find friends or to make the first move? Set goals for yourself. For example:

  • Introduce yourself to someone at least once a week
  • Go to a bar or a restaurant with someone two times a month
  • Make at least one new friend every month

Tip 9. Acceptance

This tip might sound a little bit weird, but acceptance is key. Things don’t always fall into place perfectly the first time, that’s just the way it goes – and there’s nothing wrong with that. Accept that things are going to be different and lonely sometimes, but this is part of the wonderful journey you are on.

Hopefully, these tips will help you overcome loneliness. Just remember whenever you’re feeling sad: feelings are just temporary. And always get professional help if you feel like you need it.

 

1 August 2022 2 minutes
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New Paid Parental Leave Act as of August 2, 2022

Parental leave: a statutory regulation designed to give parents the opportunity to temporarily work less to get used to the new situation. Your employees are also entitled to parental leave when they have had a child.

In this article, you will read about what parental leave entails, whether your employee is entitled to it and what changes will be made to parental leave. It is expected that many parents will make use of the new regulation. It is therefore important that you, as an employer, are prepared for this.

The rules before August 2, 2022

The current rule regarding parental leave is as follows: Dutch employees who are parents or caregivers are entitled to 26 weeks of parental leave until the child’s 8th birthday. This leave is unpaid, unless otherwise agreed upon in the terms of employment, or CAO. The number of hours of parental leave depends on the number of hours your employee works per week. This is based on the number of working hours per week as agreed in the employment contract.

Calculation: The parental leave amounts to 26 x the number of hours that your employee works. Does the employee work 32 hours? Then he/she is entitled to 26 x 32 hours of parental leave.

The employee decides how they take and distribute the parental leave. The leave does not have to be taken in one go. A number of hours per day spread over several weeks and months is possible.

Is my employee entitled to parental leave?

Your employee is entitled to parental leave if he/she

  • is the legal parent of the biological, adoptive, foster or stepchild;
  • Is not the legal parent of the child, but is caring for, and raising the child (living at the same address).

The new rules on paid parental leave after 2 August 2022

Due to a European directive, parental leave will soon change. As of August 2022, both parents will be entitled to 70% wage payment from the UWV for the first 9 weeks of parental leave. Also for paid leave, the rule is: the parent can decide how they take this leave.

  • Paid parental leave can only be taken during the child’s first year of life. If he/she does not use this, these weeks can be used unpaid until the child is 8 years old;
  • The remaining 17 weeks of parental leave are unpaid;
  • It is possible that your employer supplements the paid parental leave allowance, check this in the collective agreement and employment contract.

As an employer, can you refuse a request from an employee to take (paid) parental leave?

No, you cannot just do that. You cannot refuse the request itself, but you can refuse the distribution of the working hours/leave hours if the leave would cause serious problems for the company (this is called “important company or service interest”). This could include schedule problems or production or safety problems. In that case, you must consult with the employee about a different distribution of the leave hours. Please note that you can do this up to four weeks prior to the parental leave starting date.

What leave arrangements are there in total after 2 August 2022?

We’ve listed them for you:

  • Maternity leave/childbirth leave
    During your pregnancy you are entitled to 6 weeks of maternity leave and at least 10 weeks of childbirth leave, so a total of 16 weeks at 100% salary for the mother of the child.
  • Calamity leave
    Day of delivery, at 100% payout salary for the partner/other parent of the child.
  • Birth leave
    One time the number of working hours per week at 100% pay for the partner/other parent of the child.
  • Additional birth leave
    Up to a maximum of 5 weeks during which the partner/other parent of the child receives 70% of their salary. The UWV pays these weeks of leave. The employee must take these weeks of leave within 6 months after the birth of the child.
  • Parental leave
    26 (working) weeks of which 9 weeks at 70% of the salary and 17 weeks unpaid.

TOSS makes it easy for you
Are you outsourcing your legal employment to TOSS by means of payrolling or temporary staffing? If so, we will take care of matters such as payroll administration, drawing up employment contracts and the payment of wages. We have knowledge of (all) collective labor agreements, HR and legislation and regulations. We also advise you on matters such as notice periods.

Would you like to know whether it is interesting for you to pay your employees via payroll or temporary employment? Then get in touch with us. TOSS will be happy to help you.

 

14 July 2022 2 minutes
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The (un)importance of learning Dutch

If you are planning to move to the Netherlands, you will probably have also thought about learning Dutch. Maybe you have already started a language course and are trying to learn as much as possible before you emigrate.

Why you do not need to be fluent right away

Learning the language is part of the process if you want to live and work abroad. But you really don’t need to be fluent in Dutch before you leave because most Dutchies master the English language. The most important thing is that you have a basis and can more or less understand people approaching you, or that you can manage when you go shopping, for example.

Why deepening in the Dutch language could be useful

Surely, situations in which a good command of the language in speech and writing proves to be more important will occur. You will regularly receive mail from various authorities, it can be important for your safety and that of others, it can be useful at work, or beneficial when looking for new social contacts, to name a few. Whatever your situation, there is almost always a reason for either a little language support or a full language course.

Language tip

There may not be a lot of time for a 4-day course though, as most expats come to the Netherlands to work. ExpatLanguageSchool.net offers flexible and personalized 1-on-1 language courses at times that suit you, both face-to-face and online. The courses are provided by certified native speakers who have experienced life as an expat first-hand. So, whether you want to improve your English or want to fully master Dutch (or any other language for that matter), TOSS can recommend them wholeheartedly.

TOSS in Holland customers who register with ExpatLanguageSchool.net with this code: TOSS, will receive 5% discount on their first contract with them!

About ExpatLanguageSchool.net

We are ExpatLanguageSchool.net, a group of independent teachers who are expats themselves. We understand what it means to work and raise a family abroad. We provide (amongst others) Dutch, English, French and German tutoring sessions, whether you need just 1 or 2 sessions for support or a full-fledged language course. We believed in “online teaching” from the start, before everybody else did.

30 May 2022 2 minutes
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Holiday allowance and vacation days in the Netherlands

It is May, the month when a large part of the Netherlands receives their holiday allowance and uses up their vacation days. Everyone who works in the Netherlands is entitled to this. How much holiday allowance you get and when it is paid out differs per collective labor agreement. Most people receive their holiday allowance in May or June, but there are also people whose holiday allowance is paid out every month. Curious about how holiday allowance and vacation days work in the Netherlands? TOSS explains all!

Holiday allowance in the Netherlands

In most cases, your holiday allowance is calculated over the gross annual salary, i.e. the gross salary you earned during the past year. In case of illness and pregnancy the accumulation of your holiday allowance continues. Payments such as profit sharing and year-end bonuses do not, in most cases, count towards the calculation of your holiday allowance.

Calculating holiday allowance

The amount of holiday allowance you get is 8% of your gross annual salary. Suppose your gross annual salary is EUR 36,500.00 then you do the following:

EUR 36,500.00 x 8% = EUR 2,920.00

Your (gross) holiday allowance is then EUR 2,920.00. This amount is paid to you on top of your normal salary.

Vacation days in the Netherlands

There are two different types of vacation days in the Netherlands, statutory and above-statutory vacation days.

Statutory vacation days

Everyone who works in the Netherlands is entitled to vacation days, which are called statutory vacation days. When using your vacation days, your employer must continue to pay you.

Calculating vacation days

You are entitled to at least 4 times the number of hours you work per week. Do you work 40 hours a week? Then do the following:

40 hours x 4 = 160 hours

This means that you are entitled to at least 160 hours of vacation. If you work 8 hours a day, this makes 20 days in total.

Above-statutory vacation days

If you have more vacation days than the statutory number, then you speak of ‘above-statutory’ vacation days. This may be determined by the prevailing collective labor agreement or your employer may routinely offer more than the statutory minimum.

In the Netherlands, it is common for someone to be entitled to 24 or 25 days on a full-time basis. Unlike statutory vacation days, you do not have to use these within one and a half years. Many people save up the vacation days in excess of the statutory minimum.

Paying out above-statutory vacation days

With some employers it is possible to have your above-statutory vacation days paid out to you. Your employment contract will tell you whether this is possible through your employer.

Now you know what the situation is with holiday allowance and vacation days in the Netherlands. Do you still have questions about this subject? Please contact us!

 

14 April 2022 2 minutes
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9 Useful apps for your stay in the Netherlands

Which apps should you have if you are staying in the Netherlands? There are plenty! Apps that help you travel from A to B, that help you find a second-hand bike or that make sure you are always aware of the downpours in the Netherlands (and there are plenty of those). TOSS has listed 9 handy apps for you, that will make your stay in the Netherlands a lot easier!

1. DigiD app

If you’ve been following TOSS for a while, you know how highly we recommend a DigiD. Almost all residents of the Netherlands have a DigiD. This is an online proof of identity that allows the Dutch government to verify someone’s identity on the internet. For example, you need a DigiD if you want to file your tax return online or if you want to apply for a subsidy online. Curious about why you should get a DigiD and how you can apply for one? Read more here.

2. Marktplaats app

Are you looking for a second-hand television? Or maybe you’re looking for a cheap bike to feel like a local? Marktplaats is the go-to place to buy and sell used items. You can buy anything from tea towels to cars. It’s also very convenient in that you can filter the offerings by location. This allows you to see, for example, which bikes are being sold near you, so you can pick them up and use them the same day.

Please be aware. There are scammers out there on these types of second-hand apps. Always use the ‘Immediate Crossing Service’ to avoid this and never click on Tikkie or IBAN links if a seller sends them to you.

3. 9292 app

Public transportation is organized well in the Netherlands, but it can be quite overwhelming and complicated if you try to figure it out on your own. For example, you can stand on the platform and see four different trains all going past your destination. Therefore, download the 9292 app so you always know the most current and fastest route to your destination. The 9292 app also indicates delays and calculates the quickest route if you want to take into account a stopover.

4. Buienradar app

Newsflash: the weather in the Netherlands is unpredictable. Especially in the middle seasons, the weather is unpredictable. In one week time you can go from a winter coat to shorts and flip-flops. What you also don’t want is to leave your house unprepared, only to arrive somewhere completely drenched. So always be prepared with the Buienradar app. The app predicts the weather for the next 14 days and shows every day whether there will be rain showers in your area. That way you are always prepared for the weather.

5. Tikkie app

You are probably familiar with the expression “going Dutch,” and yes, this is indeed how things are done in the Netherlands. Now it is easier than ever. After you pay your bill you just send a Tikkie. Tikkie is an app that allows you to send payment requests. All you have to do is link your IBAN to the app. Then you just have to enter the amount and send the Tikkie to the person concerned. The money paid is immediately deposited into your account. If someone has not paid your Tikkie after a certain time, you will also receive a notification.

6. Thuisbezorgd app

Ah, you’ve just seen on Buienradar that it’s going to keep raining for the rest of the afternoon, so of course you don’t feel like going outside to do your shopping. Luckily, you can order food with Thuisbezorgd. Thuisbezorgd literally means ‘delivered home’ and that is the service the app offers. You choose what you want to eat through the app, pay and not much later a delivery driver is at the door. You can pay on the app with IBAN, credit card and PayPal, but also in cash to the deliverer. Simple and fast.

7. Vinted app

Shopping without spending a lot of money: it’s possible. Vinted is an app where you buy second-hand clothing, shoes and accessories. In the app you can filter by color, size, price, brand and even the condition of the items (new, unworn, worn…). Shipping never costs that much either, even if it’s from a country outside the Netherlands.

Do you have items that you don’t wear anymore, but are in a good condition? Put them on Vinted. On Vinted you can also sell clothes yourself. You don’t have to worry about delivery costs, these are paid by the person who buys your clothes. Vinted then creates a shipping label, which you only have to print and stick on the package.

8. Snappcar app

Are you someone who doesn’t need a car every day, but likes to use one every now and then? Snappcar is an app where you rent cars. You can choose from many different cars that you can rent for a day or for a weekend. You have options from city cars to wedding cars. In addition, you and the car are all-risk insured and you receive 27/4 roadside assistance from the ANWB.

9. Duolingo app

In the Netherlands, a large part of the population speaks English as a second language. So, in theory, you don’t need to be fluent in Dutch to be able to work and live here. Nevertheless, it is nice to know a few words and phrases by heart. Duolingo is a simple app that helps you learn the (Dutch) language for free and in a playful manner. Duolingo has short, daily lessons that allow you to earn points and unlock new levels. A fun way to learn real communication skills!

These were the 9 useful apps for your stay in the Netherlands. Is there an app we missed? Let us know!

 

29 March 2022 2 minutes
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Online tax return in the Netherlands

Every year in the Netherlands you have to file a tax return for your income, the so-called ‘inkomstenbelasting’ or ‘income tax’. You do this to find out whether you have paid enough tax over the past year. Perhaps you have paid too much and will receive a refund. Or you may have paid too little, so you have to pay extra. Filing your tax return sounds like a lot of work, but fortunately it is not. Thanks to the modern era in which we live, it is very easy and you can do your tax return quickly online.

How do you file tax returns, who should file tax returns and when should they be filed?

Anyone who is invited by the Tax Authorities to file an income tax return is required to do so, even if no tax is owed. Those who are not invited must still file a return if a payment of more than € 46 is expected and may file a return if a tax refund of more than € 15 is expected. This applies to both domestic taxpayers and foreign taxpayers1.

The tax return for 2021 must be filed with the Tax Authorities before May 1st, 2022 if you lived and worked in the Netherlands the entire year in 2021. It is possible to request a postponement of the tax return until September 1st, 2022. If the tax return is prepared by a tax advisory firm, postponement is usually possible until May 1st, 2023.

Follow the steps below to file an online tax return.

[1] Foreign taxpayers: those who live outside the Netherlands but have taxable income in the Netherlands.

Step 1. Request a DigiD

To file online tax returns, you must have a DigiD. This is an online proof of identity, which allows Dutch (semi) governmental organizations to verify your identity online. We recommend that you apply for it immediately, if you do not have one yet. Having a DigiD has many advantages. You can arrange many (personal) matters online. Examples are:

  • Applying for allowances such as childcare, healthcare and rent subsidies
  • Filing a tax return
  • Viewing your pension accrual
  • Arranging school, etc.

Curious about the benefits and how you can apply? Then click here.

Step 2. Prepare yourself

Fortunately for you, the Tax Authorities already have all your information in their system and you can download it into the tax return. But, it’s still helpful to check this again. You want to avoid incorrect or incomplete data. Therefore, have the following information and documents at hand when you file your tax return:

Your personal data: your Dutch bank account number (IBAN) and the Citizen Service Number (BSN) of yourself and possibly your partner and/or children.

Your bank accounts: the annual statement for your checking account, savings account, and investments.

Your house(s): the WOZ value of your house, if you have one*, the annual statement of your mortgage and, if you have bought or sold your house, the notary bill.

*The WOZ value of your house can be viewed online via the WOZ value office. Note: this concerns the value date of January 1st, 2020 and not January 1st, 2021.

Step 3. Go to Belastingdienst.nl

Do you have all your information at hand? Then grab your phone or laptop and go to the website of the Tax Authorities. If you have not fully mastered the Dutch language, there is also an English version of the website. On the site you log in with your DigiD. Once you are logged in, go to ‘Income Tax’ and then to ‘2021’.

Did you know that you can also file the tax return for your partner or someone else? When you log in, you indicate that you will fill in the data for someone else. For this you do need the login details (and permission) of that person.

Step 4. Checking it

It’s tempting to quickly go through the data and hit ‘Submit’, but don’t do that. You want to avoid mistakes in your tax return. Therefore, carefully check the data that the Tax Authorities have filled in for you in advance. Personal deductions, for example, are usually not included, such as study costs deductible over the last year. For this you use the documents from step 2. But you must also, for example, make the selection yourself in the tax return for partial foreign tax liability if you have the 30% ruling.

The Tax Authorities recommend that if you are in doubt between your own data and theirs, you fill in your own data. In this way you also directly “object” to the data from the Tax Authorities.

Step 5. Pay attention

The Supreme Court recently ruled that the levy on assets in Box 3 violates the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). According to the ruling, in short, only the actual return on assets may be taxed. The Tax Authorities are still determining how they should deal with this.

At the time of writing this blog, it seems that the box 3 levy has not yet been adjusted in the income tax return for 2021. We therefore advise you to object to the income tax return after filing it if you believe that the levy on your assets in box 3 is higher than the actual return you have achieved on those assets.

Step 6. Signing and done

Are you sure that everything has been filled in correctly? Sign the tax return with your DigiD. Then click on the ‘Send’ button.

It’s that simple. Hopefully everything went smoothly thanks to our instructions. Within a few weeks you will receive a message from the Tax Authorities with an assessment. The assessment states how much tax refund you will receive or how much you will have to pay. This should be the same amount as in step 4.

 

Want to know more or need help? Contact us!

21 February 2022 2 minutes
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Moving to the Netherland checklist

Great, you’ve decided to finally relocate! TOSS has prepared a handy checklist to help you get started on your exciting adventure into the Netherlands.

Before your big move

  You have work

You have a job in the Netherlands and everything surrounding this new job is already arranged and signed by both parties. The last thing you want is to arrive and the job you have been hired for is canceled at the last minute. Are you having trouble finding a job that suits you? Read more about our recruitment service.

  You have a house

In some cases, employers provide accommodation and are also obligated to make the necessary housing arrangements in the Netherlands. If this is not the case, you arrange this yourself. Make sure you start your home search on time. Dutch housing market is crazy, making it difficult to find a suitable place quickly.

  You have a Visa

The Netherlands is an EU member state. This means that as a resident of the EU/EFTA you enter the country and can stay here temporarily without needing a visa. If you stay longer than four months, you must register with the government. Are you from outside the EU/EFTA? Then you can arrange an entry visa and residence permit. These must be requested by your employer.

You have your important documents ready

Such as:

  • Passport or ID card, check the expiry.
  • Birth certificate (translated if necessary)
  • Diploma
  • Plan your registration with the municipality at least 1 month before your arrival in the Netherlands

Optional: You have joined a social media group

There are many Facebook groups where expats in the Netherlands share their experiences and tips with each other. Sign up to know if this could be helpful for you. It is best to learn from people who are going through the same thing, or who have already experienced it. Did you know that TOSS also has a Facebook and Instagram page? Here we share useful tips and tricks, and facts about the Netherlands!

Once you arrive

You have registered at the municipality or gemeente

If you plan to stay in the Netherlands for more than four months, you must register with the municipality where you are going to live within five days of arrival. The municipality will then arrange a Citizen Service Number (BSN) and ensure registration in the Personal Records Database (BRP), which lists all residents of the Netherlands.

Are you staying in the Netherlands for no longer than four months? Then you register as a non-resident with the BRP. You can make an appointment at any of the 19 RNI municipalities in the Netherlands. With this, you still get a BSN.

(!) It is advisable to plan your appointment with the municipality at least 1 month in advance. They have long waiting lines, especially in larger cities.

You have applied for a DigiD

Your DigiD allows you to identify yourself when making arrangements on the internet, such as with the government, educational institutes, healthcare institutions or your pension fund. Read more about it and how to apply for one here.

You have a local bank account

If you work in the Netherlands, you must open a local bank account. With this, you receive your salary, pay your rent, bills, and groceries. You can also choose to use your foreign bank account but it can take a few days when your employer pays you from a Dutch account and you might have to pay bank and currency fees.

Take out health insurance

If you move to the Netherlands, you must take out Dutch health insurance as soon as possible. Are you registered with the municipality and do you not yet have health insurance? Then you will receive a letter about this from the Centraal Administratie Kantoor (CAK). This organization checks whether everyone in the Netherlands has health insurance. If you have not taken out insurance three months after receiving the letter, you will receive a fine from the CAK.

If you decide to take out health insurance only after four months, you do not have to pay the monthly premium from the previous months. On those four months, you will not be insured and you will not be reimbursed for the care you have received or will use.

You have registered with a General Practitioner (GP) and dentist

It is not mandatory, but it is useful. If you become ill and need medical care, it is helpful to be registered with a GP. With this, you can easily call your GP instead of looking for a practice that accepts new patients in the time you are sick. You can find GPs in your area through ZorgkaartNederland .

The general practitioner plays a central role in the healthcare system in the Netherlands. Your GP is your first point of contact when it comes to your health. He or she will refer you to other medical specialists, such as the hospital or physiotherapist.

You pay taxes

Dutch residents pay taxes both directly and indirectly. This tax money ends up with the government, which pays for facilities that residents of the Netherlands use. Think of education, infrastructure or art and culture. You will also pay this once you live in the Netherlands. You will automatically receive a letter about it.

Find more information about taxes in the Netherlands here.

You have applied for benefits

There are various surcharges in the Netherlands that cover part of the costs that you incur. As an expat, you are most likely not or almost not entitled to benefits because you have a high income. You can calculate whether you are entitled to benefits through here.

  • Childcare allowance
  • Rent allowance
  • Health care allowance
  • Child budget if you have children under the age of 18

Do you want to apply for an allowance? You can with your DigiD through the Tax Authorities or Belastingdienst website.

You have exchanged your foreign driving license with a Dutch one

The Netherlands is well organized in terms of roads and infrastructure. It’s great to know in advance if you can drive to work or get around with a car. But is your driving license valid here? This really depends on the date you acquired your license, the country you come from, or if you are a highly skilled migrant.

Read more about the validity of your driving license in the Netherlands.

You have a Dutch SIM

With a Dutch SIM, it’s easy to stay connected with your new colleagues and friends. If you want to use certain services in the Netherlands, such as opening a bank account, Tikkie, or taking out health insurance, it is worth switching to a Dutch number.

TOSS makes it easy for you as an expat moving in the Netherlands. We help you with all the preparations and documents before your big move. We offer wide range of services such as immigration, registering at the municipality (BSN), finding a place to stay, furniture rental, and you name it. Want us to arrange an airport pick-up? We can definitely do that and many more too!

Want to know more or need help? Contact us!