Everyone who is renting an apartment receives a number of tax bills around January of February for the current year. The Northern Tax Office (het Noordelijk Belastingkantoor) will amongst other things send a tax bill to pay waste charges, water system charges for residents and purification levy. What are these taxes, what do these taxes mean and are you required to pay them?
If you are renting a room or an apartment, you pay a basic rental price. The basic rent is the amount you pay for the use of the house (and your landlord is not allowed to charge more basic rent a certain maximum price!). The basic rent refers to the square surface and facilities present in your house.
Besides the bare rent you also pay an amount in advance for the service costs. Service costs are all the costs for the supplies and services that the landlord will provide for you, such as gas, electricity, water, internet, cleaning etc. These advance payments should be properly settled with you every year, where the actual usage is compared to the amounts that you paid in advance every month. Did you never receive a bill/settlement for your current or previous accommodation? Send us an email including your rental agreement or make an appointment free of charge to see if you have the right to receive money back.
You probably thought you’d be done with the monthly payments of rent and service costs. Unfortunately, we have some bad news for you. Besides these costs, tenants also need to pay municipality taxes (gemeentelijke belastingen). These charges are not included in the basic rental price nor the service costs. Depending on the levy and the agreement you have with your landlord, these costs should be paid by either the tenant or the landlord. In this blog we’ve made a summary of the different municipality taxes.
The waste charges (afvalstoffenheffing)
The waste charge is a municipality tax for all inhabitants of the Municipality of Groningen. You need to pay these charges because the municipality takes all your waste, deposits it in a container, takes it away and processes it.
Everyone has to pay waste charges. Even if you collect few or no waste. The amount of the tax bill attributed to you depends on the number of registered residents on January 1st of the relevant year.
One tax bill is attributed per house/residence. This bill will be sent to the oldest resident of the address and should subsequently be paid and divided proportionally by you and your housemates.
For rooms it applies that the waste charges often are sent to the landlord. In this case your landlord/owner is allowed to pass on the assessment proportionally to you. Pay attention! The waste charges are not part of the service costs that you pay every month. This has to do with the fact that this is a service provided not by the landlord, but by the municipality. That’s why you need to pay the waste charges separate from the service costs amount.
Did you receive a request from your landlord to pay the waste charges? Do so as soon as possible. If you can’t pay the amount he/she asks for in one payment, ask your landlord if paying in installments is an option.
Water system levy for residents (Watersysteemheffing ingezetenen)
The water system levy is a levy you have to pay to prevent water damages and floods. This includes tasks from the water authority, such as maintenance of the dykes.
The water system levy residents concerns a fixed amount per address and is generally attributed to the main resident of apartments. The person who receives the bill is the one who has to pay for it. Do you have housemates? Ask them to pay you the proportional part of the bill. The tax applies per address, not per person.
The water system levy residents is sometimes sent to the landlord. Your landlord is allowed to pass on this bill to you if you have agreed upon this in your rental agreement. Did you and your landlord not agree upon anything in the contract? Then there is no contractual or legal foundation to pass this bill on to you and according to us you don’t have to pay this money.
NB If your landlord receives the bill for the water system levy residents, he/she could object to this giving the reason he/she is not the resident of your house. Subsequently, the bill (if everything goes accordingly) will be sent to the oldest resident of your house. This person can then apply for remission (see below for more information).
Purification levy (Zuiveringsheffing)
Lastly, you may need to pay for the purification levy. This bill is sent to anyone who drains waste water through the municipal sewage system. If you shower, do laundry or wash the dishes, the waste water will flow away. Before the waste water gets back into nature, it will go through the sewage system first to clean it. This way, our waste water can go back into nature ‘clean’.
The amount of the purification levy bill depends on the number of tenants that are registered at your address on the 1st of January. If you live alone, you pay for one pollution unit. If you’re living together with one or more other persons, you always pay for three pollution units. So you also pay for three pollution units if you’re only living with two people in your house.
The purification levy is sometimes sent to the landlord. Your landlord is allowed to pass on this bill to you if you have agreed upon this in your rental agreement. Did you and your landlord not agree upon anything in the contract? Then there is no contractual or legal foundation to pass this bill on to you and according to us you don’t have to pay this money.
NB If your landlord receives the bill for the purifiction levy, he/she could object to this giving the reason he/she is not the resident of your house. Subsequently, the bill (if everything goes accordingly) will be put on the oldest resident of your house. This person can then apply for remission (see below for more information).
Sewage charges (Rioolheffing)
Sewage charges are the taxes that are being imposed for constructing and maintaining the sewerage system. This tax has to be paid by the owner of the house. As a tenant you don’t have to pay the sewage charges because it’s not a user tax.
Water system levy for the building (Watersysteemheffing gebouwd)
Water system levy for the building is, just like water system levy for residents, a levy that’s imposed to prevent flooding. For example for building and maintaining dykes and pumping stations to prevent water shortages. This tax bill should be paid by the owner of the building. As a tenant you never have to pay these costs because it doesn’t concern a user tax.
Real estate tax (Onroerende zaak-belasting)
The real estate tax is a tax that has to be paid by the owner of a house. A landlord can never pass this tax on to his/her tenant. Even if this is agreed upon in the rental agreement. A clause stating that the real estate tax should be paid by the tenant is considered void in accordance with article 7:264 of the Dutch Civil Code.
Apply for remission
Did you receive a bill from the Northern Tax Office (Noordelijk Belastingkantoor)? Make sure to check as soon as possible if you are eligable for remission of the municipality taxes. Remission means that you don’t have to pay any money or pay a smaller amount.
We gladly refer you to the website of the Northen Tax Office to see which terms and conditions apply for requesting a remission.
Did you receive a final settlement of the service costs from your landlord that/which also mentions taxes and charges/levies? Or do you have another question about the municipal taxes? Feel free to make an appointment, free of charge.
Translation by Katinka Verstappen