Taxes for long-distance drivers

Preliminary remark

This guide is aimed at EU citizens working in the international transport sector within the EU. Both the professional driver who crosses through several countries and the haulage company who employs cross-border workers have to deal with the laws of several countries. The following information relates to the subject area of taxes and – marginally – also to social security, whereby the employee lives in the Netherlands and the haulage company is based in Germany. However, it should be noted at the outset that the place of social security liability often differs from the place of tax liability. Similarly, the tax assessment is not dependent on employment contract or legal regulations.

Each country has its own tax laws. In order to avoid double taxation, double taxation agreements have been concluded between states, including between Germany and the Netherlands.In general, the place where the work is carried out is decisive for the right of taxation. For professional drivers with their “mobile†places of work, however, the right of taxation remains in the driver’s country of residence, unless the work abroad amounts to more than 183 days within a 12-month period. Then the income is divided for taxation in several countries. However, the employer’s place of business and the practical arrangement of the driving activity also play a role.

In the case of postings or temporary work, more detailed information is also required.

The employee only drives in Germany


Taxes must be paid exclusively in Germany. The German employer withholds the wage tax, which is credited or refunded against the final tax payable at the end of the year in the income tax assessment. An exemption is not necessary, as income is only earned in Germany. Theoretically, the submission of a tax return is not even required.
The Dutch Belastingdienst [tax office] initially assumes a domestic tax liability.The employee is initially treated as a domestic taxpayer with regard to income tax, i.e. he has to file an income tax return in the Netherlands on his worldwide income. As soon as the income consists exclusively of German wage income, he no longer owes income tax in the Netherlands because of the double taxation agreement.

Social security

The social security obligation is in Germany.

The employee only drives in the Netherlands


No taxes have to be paid in Germany.Because of the wage tax, the employer must register as an employer with the Belastingdienst in Heerlen and submit an application. The deduction of taxes and social security contributions from the wages must then be carried out administratively in the same way as in the Netherlands.

Social security

In this case, the social security is in the Netherlands.

The driver drives throughout the EU


The right of taxation is shared. In Germany, only the part of the salary that is attributable to days on which the employee works in Germany can be taxed. An application for exemption from the remaining wage tax can then be made to the employer’s tax office.For the days that the employee has driven either in the Netherlands or in other countries, the country of residence, the Netherlands, is in principle entitled to taxation. However, as soon as the employee
performs work in a third country for more than 183 days, the law of that country applies.
The employer must register with the Belastingdienst in Heerlen and pay the wage taxes to the Netherlands.Otherwise, the wage taxes will not be collected by the Netherlands because of the existence of a foreign employer. When the income tax return is filed in the Netherlands, the number of days spent in the Netherlands is checked.When deciding on the income tax due, taxes already paid elsewhere are taken into account.
At the end of the tax year, the employee must fill out a tax return at the Belastingdienst [tax office] responsible for them.

Social security

Based on the EU Regulation 883/2004, Dutch social security law usually applies if the driver works more than 25% in the Netherlands.Otherwise, German social security law applies.

The employee mainly drives in a third country


The income is divided between the countries passed through.An application for exemption from the remaining wage tax can be made in Germany. However, when filing the income tax return, it is necessary to prove that the part of the income not taxed in Germany was taxed abroad. The tax return in the Netherlands certifies that the professional driver has paid tax on a certain percentage of his income there. This proof is taken into account in Germany when calculating the tax burden to be paid there on the income tax return. The proof can be provided with the foreign tax assessment or with the so-called jaaropgaaf [annual statement].
The long-distance truck driver must file a tax return in the Netherlands on his world income. Taking into account taxation already paid in other Member States, tax may be claimed in the Netherlands.

Social security

Social security is compulsory in the Netherlands.

Further sources of information:


Social security: