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Written by:
Bas Hollenberg


Two houses? Which is the main residence

If you are the owner of two houses, the question can arise for which house the mortgage interest can be deducted and which house falls into box 3. The law indicates that the determining factors are: whether a house is the main residence, and where the central living place is.
If you have two houses, then only one house counts as your “own home” with respect to the “own home rule” eigenwoningregeling. For this “own home” a flat tax applies, and this is calculated against mortgage interest and financing expenses. The value of the other house and the associated debt you must indicate in box 3 (savings and investment). You can for example think of a situation in which you have a house you live in for most of the year and you also possess a holiday house, of which only one can be deemed the main residence.

Central Living Place
Recently a Dutch couple with a (holiday) house in Portugal and a house in the Netherlands stood before a judge. In the tax return the man submitted the Portugal house as his “own house” in box 1 and the house in the Netherlands as an asset in box 3. This was advantageous because the interest expenditure for the Portuguese house was higher than the interest for the Dutch house. The judge found that the allocation had be the other way around. The judge emphasised that according to the law an “own house” must be the main residence. In addition it is important that this main residence must also be the central living place. Both parties agreed that the Netherlands was the central living place for the couple. The man and woman stayed between seven and eight and a half months in the Netherlands and the rest of the year in Portugal. The judge did not agree that the man had the option to choose himself which house he considered to be his “own house” in tax terms. He could only consider the Dutch house an “own house” in box 1. The Portuguese house came under box 3.

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