New laws per 1 January 2023

As we enter a new year, changes will take place within various sectors in the Netherlands. From the beginning of 2023, several new regulations have come into effect, mainly relating to transportation, environmental sustainability, parental authority, childcare allowance, healthcare policies, income and mortgage. Furthermore, numerous subsidy schemes will be implemented.

Vehicles and transport
Regarding safety, while on the road, the national government details that all moped riders and any accompanying individuals must wear an authorised moped helmet or an authorised speed pedelec helmet starting on 1 January. The frequency of road fatalities and injuries among moped riders should decrease as a result of this. Failure to wear a helmet may result in a €100 punishment for drivers and passengers.

Additional measures unveil that municipalities can request financial assistance for hiring and training public transportation ambassadors as of 1 January. These ambassadors are volunteers who, among other activities, help the elderly and others with disabilities become more comfortable using public transportation. The subsidies can also be used by municipalities to extend ongoing public transportation ambassador initiatives. There are 1.5 million euros available in total.

Private individuals can once again receive a subsidy when buying an electric car. The incentive is worth €2,950 for new electric automobiles and €2,000 for used ones. For 2023, there is a total of more than € 99 million available. Furthermore, in 2023, the stipend for business owners to buy an emission-free (hydrogen or electric) car or van is continuing. An amount of 32 million euros is available for this. This also applies to nitrogen-free building equipment, for which a €36 million subsidy is available for 2023.

As of 1 January, the General Periodic Inspection (APK) for cars must include the particulate filter test. This test must be passed by all diesel cars that are obliged to have particulate filters, 1.2 million automobiles in total. The environment and human health are harmed by diesel vehicles that have a removed or damaged soot filter. The new test will have a structurally positive impact on the environment by reducing particulate matter emissions by 121,000 kg annually.

Regarding air travel, to cut CO2 emissions, the air passenger tax will increase by €18.48 commencing in 2023, rising from €7.95 to €26.43 per flight ticket.

Environmental endeavours
From the beginning of this year, packaging manufacturers are responsible for gathering and processing the packaging that is released in industrial waste. Previously, only household waste was subjected to this obligation. Beginning on 5 January, manufacturers of some plastic goods, including balloons, wet wipes, tobacco products, bags and drinking cups, must also help with litter removal. Additionally, these producers must encourage customers to avoid littering. As a result of this responsibility, there is less litter, limiting dangers to the environment and human health.

The solar panel VAT rate will drop from 21% to 0% this year. This ‘zero rate’ only applies if the solar panels are placed on a house or one of its outbuildings, such as a shed. As a result, citizens are no longer required to file a reimbursement with the tax authorities for the VAT.

Through the MIA/Vamil program, businesses will have a greater opportunity to invest in new environmentally friendly methods and assets in 2023. The program allows businesses to write off sustainable investments against their taxes. For example, this applies to investments in biogas generators for local power supply during festivals, investments in machinery for producing fish and dairy alternatives, and investments in environmentally friendly building materials like wooden insulating boards made from residual flows. The budget for this is set at 217 million this year. To add to this, from 2023, offices can only be used if they have a C or higher energy label. Small offices, offices located in monumental buildings, and offices serving auxiliary purposes are excepted from this rule.

Homeowners and owners’ associations (VVEs) will now qualify for a subsidy if they implement at least one energy-saving measure this year. Up to now, only two or more methods could get a subsidy. Measures such as floor or roof insulation can receive a 15% subsidy. If two or more measures are implemented, the subsidy will remain at 30%.

Cleaner water and healthcare policy measures
New standards for tap water will go into effect throughout Europe on 12 January. Better monitoring of contaminants that can affect the quality of drinking water will be the result. In areas with a high child population, the existence of lead drinking water pipes should also be more strictly monitored, the government states. If the lead pipes are removed, this information should be recorded. To reduce the hazards connected with legionella, new policy is implemented based on research in the last 20 years.

Three significant changes to the basic healthcare allowance package will commence in 2023. Firstly, the prenatal combination test is removed from the basic package. The test was hardly used any more, since most pregnant women now choose the non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT), introduced in 2017. The NIPT will therefore be covered by the basic insurance package beginning this year. Everyone with a medical indication will be eligible for a free NIPT. Furthermore, from 1 January, vitamin D supplements will no longer covered by insurance.

The use of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) for leisure purposes is now prohibited. The government warns using nitrous oxide can lead to serious health problems, as well as reducing people’s ability to drive. The professional use of laughing gas for technical and medicinal reasons, as well as a food additive, is still legal.

The average price of a pack of cigarettes will rise from €8 to €9 starting on 1 April, rising to €10 on 1 April 2024, due to the increase in cigarette excise duty.

Childcare allowance and parental authority
In 2023, the childcare allowance will rise. Instead of being based on the number of hours worked, the allowance will be determined by the number of months worked. The government made the decision to raise the maximum hourly rate for childcare fees a second time in 2023 in mid-December 2022, as a result of the high inflation rate. As a result, parents will be compensated more for childcare costs.

From this year onwards, parental authority will automatically belong to both parents. When a newborn is registered at the municipality, both parents will immediately acquire joint parental responsibility. They no longer need to ask the court for shared custody. There are some exclusions; for instance, parents who do not want parental authority to be created automatically can specify this when registering the child.

Pay increases and benefits
The basic income tax has been lowered to 36.93%, from 37.07%. This rate applies to incomes up to €73,031. The maximum benefit that people in work may reap from this is €102. Increasing the tax credit for the employed is another step to encourage employment. That sum is subtracted from the amount of income tax you must pay.

The pay amount of certain benefits will increase on 1 January, such as the dole (bijstand), IOAW and IOAZ, IOW, AOW, ANW, Wajong, WW, WIA and WAO. This is due to the fact that these benefits are tied on the legal minimum wage, which is also rising to €1.934,40 per month for those aged 21 and up. After 1 January, residents under the age of 27 will no longer be considered cost-sharing housemates under the new cost-sharing criteria. This will benefit anyone in the household who is receiving benefits (for example parents on benefits, whose adult children live in the same house and are in work), as they now no longer get reductions in their benefits if their housemates have an income.

Regarding the transition compensation upon dismissal, the government states that if an employee is dismissed, the transition payout will not surpass €89,000 in total.

Housing and mortgages
In 2023, the mortgage interest deduction will drop from 40% to 36.93% for those whose income is above € 73,031. If individuals earn less than the average income, this modification will not have an impact on their deductible items. Furthermore, from 1 January, the tax-exempt gift that parents can give their children to help them buy a house has dropped from €106,671 to €28,947. For homes costing between €75,000 and €1,200,000, the notional rental value will be lowered to 0.35%. For houses costing more than €1,200,000, the proportion stays at 2.35%.

The 2023 rent liberalization cap is € 808.06. This threshold determines if you reside in a private or a social renting property, and thus whether you can receive rent support (huurtoeslag).

Written by Nicole Bea Kerr