Water Authority tax
Water Authority tax
Nearly a third of the Netherlands lies below sea level. It’s exactly that reason why people refer to the Netherlands as “the Land of Water”. There’s a saying “God created the earth, but the Dutch created the Netherlands”. And as that may sound silly, it could very much be true. We need to protect ourselves against water; on a daily basis. In total 21 Dutch Water Boards work to manage water barriers, waterways, water levels, dikes, water quality and sewage.
Delfland Water Authority
In 1289 Willem V, Count of Holland, authorized Delfland Water Authority (Hoogheemraadschap van Delfland) to manage the water in The Hague, Delft and Midden-Delfland. And even though the Directorate General for Public Works and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat) got established in 1798, the Dutch Water Boards still act independently and levy their own taxes.
The Water Authority has three main tasks:
- Maintenance of dikes and dams
- Water level control
- Water quality control
Why did you receive a tax assessment of the RBG?
The implementation of the three main tasks of the Water Authority is financed through taxes. And that is exactly why you have received this tax assessment from the ‘Regionale Belasting Groep’ (RBG).
Regionale Belasting Groep
The RBG is responsible for collecting taxes on behalf of Delfland Water Authority. Depending on your situation, the tax assessment includes two or three payments:
- Watersysteemheffing eigenaren (if you are the owner of the property)
- Watersysteemheffing ingezetenen (if you are an user of a residence)
- Zuiveringsheffing (one unit of pollution for a single person household and three units of pollution for a multiperson household)
(Partial) tax exemption
If you are a diplomat or privileged person you are eligible for a partial exemption. Exemption from the ‘watersysteemheffing eigenaren’ and ‘watersysteemheffing ingezetenen’ are both granted. This exemption does not apply if you have the Dutch nationality or you are considered to be a permanent resident of the Netherlands. When in doubt, be sure to contact the RBG about partial tax exemption, as this could also depend on your diplomatic status. You can contact the RBG on +31 88 291 10 00.
Exemption is not available for ‘zuiveringsheffing’, as this is a charge for a specific service like water treatment, water pollution, waste disposal, waste collection and sewage.
Did the RBG made a mistake?
The RBG receives its information directly from municipalities and the Land Registry. Be sure to always report changes in your living situation to your municipality. The RBG published a webpage with a FAQ about submitting an objection. If your tax assessment includes too many units of pollution, if you moved to another address or if you have another reason to object. Be sure to lodge your objection with RBG within six weeks of the date of the assessment. Please note: you’ll need your DigiD to object the tax assessment.
Elections of the Water Board
On 20 March 2019 citizens will vote for the new governing bodies of the Water Boards. Internationals are entitled to vote if they are registered in the municipal BRP, are above 18 years old and have either EU nationality or a valid residence permit. All eligible voters receive a card in the mail before the election which shows the date, time and local polling place.
Dutch water boards
The tasks of water boards remained basically unchanged since their first formation. They are in fact the oldest democratic institution in the Netherlands. In many Dutch towns you can visit historic buildings that used to house the water boards, including their very own coat of arms! You can still visit the house Delfland Water Authority used in 1645 in Delft. So, do not just pay your tax assessment, but visit Delft and make the most out of it.
Do not confuse the Water Authority tax with municipal taxes. In February you'll recieve a tax assessment from your muniplaity as well.
Related article: How to apply for a DigiD