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Written by:
Bas Hollenberg


Travel Cost Changes Postponed

This week Secretary Weekers sent the package of tax measures resulting from the Budget Agreement 2013 (Draft Act fiscal measures Budget Agreement 2013) to the House. Conspicuously absent from the package were the previously announced changes to the tax-free travel allowance (forensenbelasting ') and the mortgage deduction.

None of the five parties that joined the Spring Agreement still appear enthusiastic about these plans. This certainly has something to do with the massive social protest against the plans, especially those concerning the travel allowance. Travellers Organization Rover started a petition against the travel allowance and websites appeared where commuters can calculate how much they would lose out in 2013. The ANWB Travel Check was visit more than 230,000 times. The unions then warned that the abolition of the tax-free commuting fee would hit people harder than expected because the travel allowance would be added to the total income. This can lead to lower childcare or housing benefits or an own contribution for care. This effect was missing in the sample calculations on the internet, according to the unions.

Career site even mentioned that in the last few weeks responses to vacancies over 50 kilometres away decreased dramatically. Jobseekers are apparently afraid they will face a drop in disposable income and would rather opt for a job close to home. The ANWB urges the House to search for fairer alternatives to the measure. "Commuters cannot simply change residence and / or work in the current stagnant housing and labour markets" said a spokesman.

According to Prime Minister Rutte it is not that the government will only further develop proposals for the tax-free travel allowance and the mortgage changes until after the elections for political reasons. The issues are complicated and therefore more time is needed to work the plans out. "It is science, not politics," says Rutte. Secretary Weekers added that it simply takes time to abolish the tax free travel expenses with the care necessary. "If I was to rush it through now, people would accuse me of not being thorough". Weekers offered to send a letter to the House with more information about the plans for the travel allowance before the summer recess. The final draft follows in the Tax Plan 2013.

Minister of Finance De Jager told RTLZ that plans for abolishing the tax-free travel allowance will continue unless a new government decides otherwise. In that case a new austerity savings of 1.3 billion euros needs to be found. De Jager defended the measures as follows: "It's fine if you live further away from your work, that is everyone's right, but should the taxpayer subsidize it?"

Source: fiscaal totaal

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