ECJ to rule on import duty exemption for Dutch national moving back to Netherlands

Posted on 4th January, 2015

Estimated reading time 3 minutes

The Dutch Supreme Court has asked the European Court of Justice to rule on the regulations for import duty exemption for personal property.

The case involves a Dutch national who for a number of years worked in a non-EU country.  On moving back to the Netherlands, he claimed import duty and tax exemption for his personal property, which included a Porsche.  It should be noted that duty exemption also includes exemption from VAT and Dutch car registration tax.

Under Article 3 of EC Regulation 1186/2009, individuals moving from a non-EU country to an EU country are exempt from import duties on all personal property, provided specific conditions are met.  The most important condition being that the person must be moving from a country outside the EU to an EU member state.  However, in the case in question, the individual has personal as well as professional ties with both the Netherlands and a non-EU country.  It is not clear whether the individual should be treated as resident in an EU member state (the Netherlands), a non-EU country (the country in which he worked), or both (ie. double residency) for tax purposes. 

Should it be decided that the individual is a Dutch resident only, it could be argued that he is not moving to the Netherlands and so duty and tax exemption do not apply.  As cars are expensive in the Netherlands, the ruling could have significant financial implications for the individual – as well as other international assignees returning to EU states.

A ruling is not expected before the end of 2015, at which time further updates will be provided.


Further information

For further information or to discuss any of the issues raised, please contact Kees Bouwmeester ( on +31  20 5785785.

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