Dutch pension scheme for football players
Professional football players in the Netherlands pay relatively much income tax (49.5% on the top income in 2022). Yet professional football players in the Netherlands do not have much to complain about. This has to do with a pension scheme for football players in the Netherlands, which provides a lot of security after their football career. In addition, in very specific cases, foreign footballers can make use of the 30% ruling.
Pension scheme for football players in the Netherlands
If you work as an employee, you can often accrue an extra pension through your employer (or you can save for your pension yourself). You often work until you have reached the state pension age. After that, you will receive the pension income in addition to the AOW benefit (state pension). For professional football players, this works a little differently. They stop well before they reach the state pension age, which is why the regular Dutch pension scheme does not work for them. To solve this problem, the Dutch tax authorities created a special pension scheme for football players.
Bridging pension for football players
In general, the Dutch tax authorities do not facilitate building a bridging pension in order to retire early. However, the tax authorities made an exception for professional football players in the Netherlands.
The bridging pension aims to “bridge” the period between the end of the football career and the start of a new one (or until the state pension age). The minimum term is one month, and the maximum is 20 years (240 months).
But the bridging pension is not voluntary: it is a compulsory tailormade scheme for professional football players. They pay a percentage of their gross earnings that forms their pension fund. The amount of the contribution depends on the salary:
- 15% for players with an income of €2,167 – €3,467
- 20% for players with an income from €3,467 – €4,767
- 30% for players with an income from €4,767 and up (with a maximum of €5,525 per month)
30% ruling for foreign professional football players
The 30% ruling is a popular tax benefit among expats who come to work in the Netherlands. But there are a number of conditions, like the salary threshold and that you must be recruited from abroad.
In the case of professional football players, you also have to meet a scarcity requirement. It means that the expertise of the footballer can hardly be found in the Netherlands. The Dutch tax authorities take into account three factors to assess this:
- educational attainment
- relevant work experience (2.5 years)
- pay level in the country of origin is not lower than in the Netherlands
In practice, it actually comes down to the fact that only footballers who have played international matches are eligible for the 30% ruling. These football players do not have to pay taxes on 30% of their income for five years and do not have to give up any savings/assets.
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