Everyone who lives and works in the Netherlands at some point deals with taxes. In the Netherlands, there is a state tax office. Get to know what is it responsible for and when it is time to contact Belastingdienst.
What is the Belastingdienst?
The Belastingdienst is translated from Dutch as "tax service". This governmental service deals with collection of taxes and customs in the Netherlands. Being a part of the Dutch Ministry of Finance, it is also responsible for vulnerable categories of population and manages social allowances and unemployment benefits. Thus, Belastingdienst does not just takes money from you, but also supports you when needed.
When you will need to contact Belastingdienst?
Normally your first contact with Dutch tax service is when you need to acquire a social services number (so-called BSN). If you have kids you would probably need to apply for child benefits at Belastingdienst. Tax office is also at your service when you want to set up a business or work as a freelancer. Obviously, you would also need to address tax office when filing your tax return.
How to contact the tax office?
Some of the services listed above are available online at Belastingdienst official website. You would need to use your DigiID to log in on Belastingdienst website. The website of the tax office is in Dutch. There is an English version, but it is shortened and offers only the limited amount of information. If you don’t speak Dutch yet you would need to seek help from a Dutch speaker or a professional.
Several years ago, the Dutch tax office has switched to online correspondence. It is possible to receive only emails instead of paper mail by registering an online account at mijnoverheid.nl. Online correspondence is obviously better as the physical mail will have to be changed every time you move.
Belastingdienst and language difficulties
Tax office like other government bodies in Netherlands provides its service in Dutch. If it is difficult for you to understand Dutch it is advisable to seek help. Take into account that the letters from Belastingdienst are not only informative but often require action from the recipient.
There is also a free landline of Belastingdienst (0800 0543) available Monday-Thursday from 8am to 5pm (on Friday till 5 pm). It is available in Dutch only though. Yet one can try to call and ask a question in English. There is a chance you will receive an answer in English, but it depends on a person you talk to. Tax office employees are generally advised to use Dutch to avoid possible misunderstandings based on the language difficulties.