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Is an employer allowed to let a migrant worker work without a citizen service number (part II)?

On 25 November 2022, the NOS published an article about three asylum seekers who gave the IND (the immigration and naturalization service) an ultimatum to issue a BSN (the citizen service number). In that article, the asylum seekers (wrongly) assumed that the IND is in charge of that and that it isn’t allowed to work in the Netherlands without a BSN. In this blog series, we will explain how a migrant worker can work in the Netherlands without a BSN. In our second blog, we discuss the question of how to deal with an employee without a BSN for tax purposes.
Stefan Kleijer
20 April 2023
20 April 2023

Main tax rule: no BSN, then apply anonymous rate

No later than the first working day, the employee must provide the employer with certain information, such as the BSN. If the employee doesn’t yet have a BSN on the first working day, the main rule requires the employer to provide the employee number of his employee in a separate section in the wage tax return and apply the anonymous rate. An employer who applies the anonymous rate will withhold 52% wage tax/national insurance contributions. The wage tax credit, the maximum premium wage for employee insurance contributions and the maximum contribution wage for the employer levy (or contribution) for the Healthcare Insurance Act may not be taken into account.

Exception to the main tax rule: avoidance of the anonymous rate

That, for some time now, there have been huge backlogs in issuing a BSN to asylum seekers who may be eligible for a work permit hasn’t gone unnoticed (even) by the Tax Authorities. The latest version of the Wage Taxes Handbook 2023 (hereinafter: ‘Handbook 2023’), published on 6 March 2023, describes the new policy of the Tax Authorities on the application of the anonymous rate. The Handbook 2023 describes the Tax Administration's (new) policy as follows:

"There is a flexible position on this main rule. You may refrain from applying the anonymous rate if you can show (if we ask you to) that the absence of the BSN is beyond your or your employee's control (such as delayed processing by the local authority)."

The policy is more firm than the earlier notification in 2022 which described that a flexible position could apply. It also appears that it’s no longer necessary for employers to submit a waiver request to the Tax Authorities before the application of the anonymous rate may be omitted. Submitting a request seems to be recommended only at the time when the employer is in doubt or would like to play it 'safe'. A doubtful situation may arise, for example, when the BSN was initially requested too late and it’s therefore not clear whether the lack of the BSN is completely beyond the control of the employer and employee.


If you have any questions about hiring employees without a BSN and/or about hiring employees coming from outside the EU/EEA, please feel free to contact us.