Refugees and taxation: Beyond the refugee crisis: A reflection from different perspectives on the Dutch case

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As a result of the Arab Spring and the subsequent civil uprisings and wars in – among other countries – Iraq, Libya and Syria, and numerous other violations of human rights, thousands of people have fled their home countries and applied for asylum in the European Union in recent years. While the majority of forcibly displaced people find shelter in their region of origin, the number of asylum seekers crossing into Europe in 2015 vastly exceeded that of prior years. Only a portion of the asylum seekers receive protection, based on refugee status, subsidiary protection or humanitarian reasons. The highest absolute and relative numbers of persons that were granted protection status in 2015 were registered in Germany, followed by Sweden. The recognition rate for all origin groups and in all EU countries is slightly more than half of the total number of asylum requests. In the Netherlands this percentage is much higher (78%), with recognition rates of almost 100% for asylum seekers from Syria. People from countries that are considered safe countries of origin by the Netherlands (e.g. Albania, Morocco), have a very low chance of being issued a residence permit. The reflections in this volume largely apply to those who do receive a positive answer to their asylum claim. Whereas the ‘refugee crisis’ was mainly about short-term aspects of dealing with asylum claims, varying from setting up emergency shelters to installing proper safety checks, a related debate concerns the socio-economic inclusion of newcomers in host countries in the longer run. As the majority of people who are granted a residence permit on asylum grounds do not return to their (often unsafe) origin countries, it is of high importance to consider incorporation and social-inclusion measures. The contributions in this volume seek to describe the current situation in the Netherlands with regard to these concerns, based on debates among legal scholars, politicians or the public in general, following both directly and indirectly from the refugee crisis.

One step in the integration of refugees when accessing the Dutch labour market concerns being liable to tax. To overcome possible uncertainties and prevent issues with the Dutch authorities, it is essential to know from which point of the asylum procedure onwards refugees are expected to pay taxes in the Netherlands. In this respect, the fourth paper of this volume provides the legal framework that ultimately leads to tax liability in the Netherlands and shows in how far refugees have access to the Dutch double tax treaty network, in case they face cross- border double-taxation situations.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Number of pages39
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Tax
  • Refugees
  • Netherlands

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