This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)
Social security international employees; where are you insured?
When you work as an employee or self-employed person in several countries at the same time, it is sometimes difficult to determine in which country you are socially insured and therefore which country is entitled to levy when it comes to social security contributions. The Dutch social premiums are the AOW, Anw and Wlz (national insurance schemes) and the WW, WAO, WIA and ZW (employee insurance schemes).
In order to ensure that several countries do not claim to be entitled to levy premiums, European Union Regulation 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems has been created. The Regulation contains designation rules that assign the levy rights to only one country in cross-border situations. Please note: the Regulation only applies to EU member states.
Article 11 of the Regulation provides that the country of employment (ie the country in which the work takes place) may in principle levy social contributions. So if you live in the Netherlands but you work in Germany, then according to the Regulation you are obliged to hand over social contributions to Germany (you can never be obliged to do so to in two countries).
Do you perform work in 2 or more Member States for 1 employer? Then Article 13 of the Regulation applies. The rules are as follows:
If you perform 25% or more of the activities in the Member State in which you live, this Member State is entitled to tax.
If you perform less than 25% of the work in the Member State in which you live, then the Member State is entitled to tax where your employer is based, or where your employer is established.
Do you perform work in 2 or more Member States for 2 or more different employers? In this case the following rules apply:
If the 2 employers are located in the same Member State, this Member State is entitled to tax;
If employers are located in 2 different Member States, 1 of which is the Member State where you live, the other Member State is taxable;
If the employers are located in at least 2 different Member States, not being the Member State where you live, the Member State where you live is taxable.
Interesting is the concept of employer that has always been formally explained for the application of the Regulation. From the above rules it emerges, as soon as one does not perform at least 25% of the work in the country of residence and there is 1 employer (this is often the case) that the country where the employer is established is entitled to tax. Consider, for example, professions within professional goods transport, where many borders are crossed and along which they are en route.
A formal explanation of the term employer is about the location on paper. The registered office is usually looked at (in which country is the employer registered). It does not seem incomprehensible that such a formal approach encourages fraudulent arrangements whereby a paper employer is established in a certain country, but actually operates from another country.
On 26 November 2019 the Court of Justice of the European Union decided in a judgment to drastically change this interpretation. In the judgment, the Court answers questions referred for a preliminary ruling by the CRvB (Centrale Raad van Beroep).
There has long been a tendency within jurisprudence towards a more material interpretation of the concept of employer within social security, but this has never been pronounced by the Court.
The present case concerned an Cypriot employer. This Cypriot employer employs many truck drivers who thus have a paper based employer in Cyprus. Social security contributions in Cyprus are considerably lower than in the Netherlands. This goes hand in hand with a poorly functioning social safety net. If you suddenly become incapacitated for work, you can to a lesser extent count on a decent benefit.
The actual situation between the truck drivers and the Cypriot employer was that the truck drivers were fully available to companies established in the Netherlands for an indefinite period of time and that they also exercised actual authority over them. The Court has therefore ruled that the employer is “who has recruited the persons concerned, who in fact has them fully available for an indefinite period of time, who exercises the actual authority over them and who de facto bears their wage costs”.
This way, structures that have nothing to do with reality are avoided and you as an employee or self-employed person are also protected against a weak social safety net.