So, I’m beefing with the Dutch government again. Their rules around freelancing are so frustrating and confusing and they make it impossible for someone with an occupational disability to work for themselves, unless they are on a benefit (which I do not qualify for).
I have no idea how I’m going to explain this so it makes sense to anyone but the people who made these rules, but here goes…
In order to work as a freelancer in the Netherlands, you must register as a self-employed business owner. I fulfill the basic criteria: I provide goods & services, I ask for more than cost price, and I intend to work for people other than my friends and family. However, I don’t fulfill the additional criteria of: working on a regular basis with 3 or more clients a year, and I do not expect to make a profit (hell, I don’t even expect I’d make minimum wage). I MAY achieve this, but I’m more confident that I won’t. You also have to pay VAT on all income.
In contrast, in New Zealand you simply pay the tax earned on any self-employed income via your individual income tax return and you only have to concern yourself with VAT (GST) once you start making over $60,000 a year. You do not need to register until that point. This makes it easy to work sporadically as a disabled person.
Registering a business is also a privacy risk. They recently changed it so you can shield your address from the register, but only if you pay for a PO Box (or have access to another mailing address), which I’m not going to do if I’m not making money.
Not to mention that it costs €60 to register. It’s free in New Zealand. 😒
I was offering my services as “incidental work”, which I would pay the taxes on via my personal tax return, but because I meet the basic criteria, this was apparently not allowed. So my options were to either register only to get my status removed again in three years because I don’t meet the additional criteria or stop offering my services. And after the last round of stress registering caused me, I decided on the latter.
My only option for work now is regular employment. Given that I need accommodations such as work from home and the ability to choose my own hours PLUS a preference for English-speaking work, this is going to be an uphill battle. I honestly just wish the Dutch government could take a leaf out of New Zealand’s book and remove the barriers to freelance work.
Oof. I really need to get my ass to bed as I have a dentist check-up first thing tomorrow. But I just needed to rant this out a bit so I’m not stewing over it all night.
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