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Can you become a fiscal Nomad?


The answer is yes, but boy what can that be exhausting.

The more important questions in international tax matters is to determine where a person or a company is actually situated. We often receive a reply that people are registered as citizens in for instance the UK but live and work in the Netherlands. The registration in the UK is not so much relevant, more relevant is where people actually live and work. As that is the Netherlands, they are Dutch resident tax payers. That can come as a shock.

Some people claim to have no place of residence, like George Clooney in the movie Up in the Air. But if you ask specifically about how and where they earn their money, where their loved once are living, you can point out exactly where they are a tax resident. So personally I skipped the possibility of fiscal Nomads, until I read the following case.

Genuine nomad

A British national, let us refer to him as Sinclair, claimed to be a UK tax resident or at least not a Dutch tax resident. The Dutch tax office disagreed and imposed a Dutch resident tax assessment including his world wide income and assets. Sinclair went to court and made a complaint.

The court determined that he was a Dutch tax resident based on the following. He had himself registered with a Dutch city hall since June 2006, purchased with a Dutch woman a house in the Netherlands, registered an Audi TT in the Netherlands, opened Dutch bank accounts. This made him a Dutch tax resident. We know from experience that owning a house with a partner is a very strong argument of being regarded a Dutch tax resident.

But Sinclair disagreed with the court and made an appeal with a higher court.Fiscal nomad orange tax

Appeal a tax court decision if you disagree

The higher court noticed that Sinclair was employed by a UK employer working on projects concerning the purchase of oil refineries. The majority of his time he spend abroad. He worked from January to April 2008 in Norway followed by periods he had projects in Spain and Belgium. From January to June 2009 in Belgium, then the United Kingdom, France and Bahrain. From Bahrain he worked a couple of months in Korea, then Germany and then again in Belgium. That was 2009. 2010 was not much different.

The partner with whom he owns the house is a good friend. He spend most of his time between travels with his father in the UK and his sons from a previous marriage in the UK. When he is in the Netherlands, he is for business with a group of employees from the UK company then rent several houses in a holiday park.

The higher court has the opinion that the actual circumstances outrank the formalities. This implies that Sinclair his tax residency is determined by the facts over formalities. And the outcome of the facts is that he is not regarded a Dutch tax resident. Fortunately the higher court does not have to decide where he is regarded a tax resident, as that could be a complex matter.

Orange Tax Services

Before you decide to make an appointment with us to obtain the same tax status as the so called mr Sinclair in the above article, we have to stress that you first need to create the circumstances. So you actually have to be wandering the world, have different work places. If you neglect this rather important aspect and you keep on your Dutch resident partner, your house, your car and your registration with city hall in the Netherlands, then we still have the opinion you are a Dutch tax resident.



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