For the first time, Dutch citizens can now see how much they have to pay their municipality, province and water authority in taxes. Earlier today, the University of Groningen’s Centre for Research on Local Government Economics (COELO) presented the first extensive Local Taxes Calculator. This makes it possible to make an online comparison of the local taxes levied in different places. It also shows how much funding municipalities receive from central government.
It can be difficult for citizens to work out exactly how much they pay in local taxes as each local tax is calculated differently. This can depend on the value of someone’s home, the number of people living there, car ownership (and the weight of the car), the volume of refuse and so on. This makes it hard to gain an accurate overall picture.
The Local Taxes Calculator can be found at www.coelo.nl. You enter the name of a municipality, the number of people living in a house and a few other details and the Calculator generates a clear picture of your taxes. You can also choose a second municipality as a comparison.
One of the main aspects considered when assessing the performance of a government is the amount of taxes it levies. It is obviously also important to take the level of amenities into account, and local circumstances that can make amenities more expensive. We tend to think of local taxes as municipal charges such as property tax and waste collection and sewerage charges. But provinces and water authorities also need money from us to be able to do their job, sometimes more even than a municipality.
The only revenue that provinces receive from direct taxation is the provincial surcharge. This is a percentage on top of motor vehicle tax. The heavier your car, the more you pay. People who do not own a car, or those who drive an electric car, are best off as they don’t pay this tax.
The water authorities levy various taxes. The average citizen only has to pay the purification levy and the water system levy. The amount you pay depends on your household and, in the case of home-owners, the value of your house for the purposes of the Valuation of Immovable Property Act.
In addition to revenue from taxes, municipalities receive money from central government in the form of grants. On average, these grants are roughly three times as much as the municipalities’ revenue from local taxes. The updated Local Taxes Calculator also shows how much a municipality received from central government per resident in the previous year. For the first time, it is now easy to see how these central government grants compare with the taxes paid by citizens.
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