New rules and laws for businesses as of 1 January 2024

As of 1 January 2024, businesses in the Netherlands have to deal with several new laws and regulations. For example, there will be a legal minimum wage per hour, plastic cutlery and disposable containers will be banned for catering, and the new Environment and Planning Act will go into effect.

New rules and regulations from 1 January 2024

This is an overview of important changes for sole proprietorships and SMEs:

One place for all permit applications

For entrepreneurs and individuals, the new Environment and Planning Act (Omgevingswet) should make it faster and easier to apply for a permit. Think, for example, of a building or a tree-felling permit. You make one application at one desk and receive one decision. You should also be able to expect a decision sooner: within 8 weeks instead of 26. This single law replaces 26 existing laws and takes effect on 1 January 2024.

Cleaning up litter around your business

From 1 January 2024, your municipality can determine what you must do to keep the area around your business clean. This allows your municipality to better respond to local problems with litter. The rules will come in an environment plan as part of the new Environment and Planning Act.

Municipalities must come up with new rules by 2032. Until your municipality has announced new rules, you are obliged to clear up litter within a 25-metre radius of your business. This only applies to waste from products you sell. For example, food waste and packaging.

Plastic cutlery and disposable crockery banned

From 1 January 2024, hospitality and catering businesses are no longer allowed to offer food and drink in disposable cups, with plastic cutlery, or in meal containers made of plastic. If your business cannot do without these, you can apply for an exemption (in Dutch). If you get permission, then, among other things, you must collect 75 to 90% of the packaging for reuse.

Ban on flavoured e-cigarettes

The sale of flavoured e-cigarettes other than tobacco flavours is banned from 1 January 2024. Earlier, it was already prohibited to produce or purchase those flavours. Retailers were allowed to sell their stocks until the end of 2023.

Safety coordinator required in construction

A Safety Coordinator (Veiligheidscoördinator Directe Omgeving) must be present during construction and demolition work. Entrepreneurs in the construction industry are required to do so under the Structures (Living Environment) Decree (Bbl). The coordinator must prevent accidents at the construction site. Part of the new Environment and Planning Act has been incorporated into the Bbl. Both take effect from 1 January 2024.

Changes to the minimum wage

The legal monthly minimum wage will change to an hourly minimum wage. As a result, the minimum hourly wage will be the same for all workers in 2024. That minimum wage also goes up compared to 2023.

In 2023, the minimum wage was calculated per month. A worker aged 21 or older working full-time was entitled to a minimum wage of €1,995 each month. The number of hours in a week that are considered full-time work is determined by the terms of the collective labour agreement: 36, 38, or 40 hours. An employee working full-time 40 hours a week therefore received a lower minimum wage per hour.

In 2024, the minimum wage per hour is the same for everyone. The more hours an employee works, the higher the monthly wage is. The minimum wage is also higher. As a result, wage costs for the employer increase.

Minimum wage in 2023  

Full-time working week

Hourly rate

Monthly pay

36 hours

€ 12.79

€ 1,995

38 hours

€ 12.12

€ 1,995

40 hours

€ 11.51

€ 1,995

Minimum wage in 2024  
Full-time working weekHourly rateMonthly pay

36 hours

€ 13.27€ 2,070

38 hours

€ 13.27€ 2.185

40 hours

€ 13.27€ 2,300

Tax on non-alcoholic drinks goes up

The consumption tax on non-alcoholic drinks such as soft drinks and fruit juices rises to €26.13 per 100 litres (hectolitre). From 1 January 2024, this consumption tax does not apply to mineral water and milk.

Childcare allowed in English, French, or German

Do you work in childcare? Daycare may be offered multilingually. Multilingual daycare may be offered in English, French, or German, next to Dutch (and/or Frisian). You may do so for a maximum of 50% of the time per day.

The Energy Investment Allowance is reduced

The EIA for entrepreneurs is extended by 5 years, until 2028. However, the percentage you can deduct goes down from 45.5% to 40% in 2024. The minimum investment is €2,500, and the maximum investment is €136 million.

If you invest in energy-saving and sustainable business assets, you may be eligible for the EIA. This allows you to deduct a percentage of the cost of your investment from your profit. As a result, you pay less tax.

 

Set up a bv through a video connection

From 1 January 2024, you can incorporate a private limited company (bv) online, without having to go to a notary's office. The notary will draw up a deed that you go through together via video call. You identify yourself with a digital identifier. You sign the deed online.

A notary can refuse to do the setup online. For example, if it suspects identity fraud or doubts that you can make decisions independently. In that case, you have to visit the notary in person.

Fees for objecting to WOZ and bpm lower

Fees for legal aid and damages when objecting to WOZ and bpm will be lower from 1 January 2024. Also, from now on, your municipality and the Tax Administration will pay the litigation fees directly to citizens or companies instead of objection agencies. As a result, fewer legal proceedings will have to be started.

Excise duty on alcohol up

Excise duty on beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages go up by 8.4% on 1 January 2024.

Travel allowance goes up

If you reimburse the travel expenses of your staff, different rules apply in 2024. The untaxed travel allowance increases to €0.23 per kilometre in 2024. That is 2 cents more than in 2023.

In 2023, you could reimburse €0.21 per kilometre tax-free. You do not deduct any payroll tax on this. You can also pay a higher amount per kilometre. But anything above the travel allowance is considered wages by the Tax Administration and is not tax-free.

You do not need to pay payroll tax for a public transport card

In 2024, the government makes it easier to provide and reimburse your employees for a public transport card. Your employee will then not have to pay payroll tax on its cost. The only condition is that your employee uses the card for business purposes.

Currently, you must keep records for this. You must prove that the value of the public transport card does not exceed the real business travel costs. On the difference between the higher value and the actual business travel costs, your employee must payroll tax.

Less income tax on money in third-party account

Are you planning to buy company assets? Such as business premises, machinery, or a company car? And do you have a sole proprietorship (eenmanszaak), general partnership (vof), limited partnership (cv), or professional partnership (maatschap)? If you put money into a third-party account of a civil-law notary or law firm for these purchases, this money will now be taxed as bank balance money instead of as an investment.

You will pay less tax in box 3 of your income tax as a result. In your 2023 income tax return, you will pay 0.36% tax on these funds, instead of the 6.17% levied on investments.

Payment discount provisional income tax assessment abolished

The payment discount for the provisional income tax assessment has been abolished. You got this discount if you paid the provisional assessment in one go. As a result, from 1 January 2024, it no longer matters whether you pay the provisional income tax assessment in one go or in instalments.

SME profit exemption goes down

The SME profit exemption reduces your taxable profit after the entrepreneur allowance. The rate drops from 14% to 12.7% in 2024. Entrepreneurs with high profits will lose the most as a result.

Private business ownership allowance (zelfstandigenaftrek)

Do you work at least 1,225 hours in your business? Then you can use the private business ownership allowance (zelfstandigenaftrek). The private business ownership allowance goes down by €1,280 in 2024. The private business ownership allowance will then be €3,750.

Over the next few years, the private business ownership allowance will go down further. Eventually to €900 in 2027.

Business.gov.nl

You will find all new laws and amendments that matter to entrepreneurs on Business.gov.nl, including the effective date and whether or not the law is final.

Box 3: Income from savings, investments

Do you have savings or investments? In 2024, you will pay no tax on your assets up to €57,000 (or €114,000 with your partner). Do you have more capital? Then you will pay 34% tax on the return you made on it. The return is the yield, the profit you make on your savings and investments. In 2024, the government calculates a fixed return percentage for investments of 6.04%.

BOR and DSR scaled down and simplified

The Business Succession Regime (BOR) and existing transfer scheme (DSR) are scaled down in 2024. In the BOR, you have to pay less or no inheritance tax. In the DSR, you do not have to pay income tax on the profit you have left. The next owner pays that. 

From 2024, these two schemes may only be used for company assets and no longer for assets from the rental of real estate such as business premises, houses or farmland. More changes will follow from 2025.

More options for the reinvestment reserve

The rules for the reinvestment reserve (HIR) have expanded for 2024. If you stop part of your business due to a government measure, you can use the HIR. The reinvestment reserve allows you to pay tax later when you buy a business asset, such as a machine or vehicle. You may also use the HIR from 2024 to invest in another (second) business, for example.

30% ruling limited

If you want to hire foreign employees with special knowledge or talent, the 30% ruling for highly skilled migrants will be limited as of 1 January 2024. This regulation allows you to reimburse certain costs for this employee by paying part of the salary tax-free.

From 2024, you may only apply the regulation to a maximum amount. This amount will be determined every year. You may also no longer provide unlimited tax-free reimbursement for the additional costs your employee incurs due to moving to the Netherlands. You have to report to the Tax Administration how you reimburse these costs. Finally, the percentage decreases from 30 to 10 over 5 years.

How are laws made?

Sometimes a new law or an amendment is announced, and then does not go ahead, or the effective date is postponed. Why do some announced laws come into effect, while others do not?

Roughly speaking, the legislation process works like this. Ministries and the lower house of parliament (Tweede Kamer) prepare laws. Once the lower house of parliament has approved a law, it goes to the upper house (Eerste Kamer). They can only accept or reject the law. If the upper house accepts the proposal, the government publishes the new law in the Staatsblad (Government Gazette).

The effective date of a law can be mentioned in the law itself. Or the law may state that the government will determine the effective date by Royal Decree (Koninklijk Besluit, KB). The KB is published in the Staatsblad.

As the legislative process consists of many steps, it can take a while before a proposed law enters into effect. Changes in the composition of the lower and upper houses of parliament can also affect the progress. If there is a caretaker cabinet in place (demissionair cabinet), it will only handle current affairs and not take any major decisions.