2023 Spring Memorandum refers to withdrawal of some reduced VAT rates
In i’s recent Spring Memorandum, the Dutch government has included a review of the application of the 9% reduced VAT rates and zero-rated category to simplify their use and withdraw unwarranted applications. This includes lower rates on hotels and entrance to cultural venues.
In particular, it will be revisiting the reduced rates on:
- Accommodation (hotels and campsites);
- Clothing and shoes;
- Labour-intensive services (such as painters, hairdressers and shoemakers);
- Entrance to cultural attractions – museums and cinemas; and
- Books and e-books.
In April 2023, the State Secretary for Finance sent a report to the Lower House of Parliament questioning the effectiveness of the reduced (9%) VAT rate for achieving desired policy goals. The report concluded the aims of applying a reduced VAT rate – i.e., to encourage the purchase of certain goods and services, reduce the tax burden on the less affluent, combat the black market and support certain sectors – often do not lead to the desired outcome. The report also notes that the wealthiest 50% of households benefit twice as much from the reduced VAT rates as the poorest 50%.
A number of other EU countries have recently announced potential reduced VAT rate simplifications, including Czech, Belgium and Italy. In 2022, the EU reduced VAT rate freedoms was agreed to give member states more range of reduced rates.
The standard VAT rate in the Netherlands is 21%. There are two other rates:
- 9% reduced: food and drink, agricultural products and services, medicines, books, daily newspapers and magazines, some works of art, collectors items and antiques, take away food; bars, cafes and night clubs.
- 0%: exports or EU intra-community supplies, services for the international carriage of goods or work on goods that are exported to countries outside the EU; international transport of passengers.