News from the Commission > Commission requests The Netherlands to end discrimination against pensioners living abroad

Couple of pensioners at the beachThe European Commission has requested the Netherlands to stop discriminating against pensioners who live abroad when paying out an allowance for elderly taxpayers. This results from a discriminatory condition under Dutch law for entitlement to the 'koopkrachttegemoetkoming oudere belastingplichtigen' (purchasing power allowance for elderly taxpayers).

New national legislation which entered into force on 1 June 2011 provides that the allowance is paid to persons aged 65 years and above who can show that at least 90 % of their world income is taxable in the Netherlands. This condition means that the allowance is not granted to people living outside the Netherlands. The Commission has received a large number of complaints from citizens. Under EU law, entitlement to an old age benefit cannot be conditional on the pensioner living in the Member State where he or she claims the benefit. This rule enables pensioners to move to another Member State when they retire whilst retaining their pension.

The Commission's request takes the form of a 'reasoned opinion' under EU infringement procedures. The Netherlands now has two months to inform the Commission of measures taken to bring its legislation into line with EU law. Otherwise the Commission may decide to refer the Netherlands to the Court of Justice of the EU.


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