UENL 30Rule Lawyer Fund

"A DEAL IS A DEAL" – Prime Minister Mark Rutte
We moved here, negotiated salaries, bought homes, and left our friends and families, in order to take the Dutch Government up on a deal THEY offered to US: If we brought our skills to the Netherlands, and made their country more competitive globally, we in return would be able to offset some of the risks and costs taken by having the first 30% of our salary untaxed.
Now, with a new coalition government, they have proposed to BACK OUT  on the promise they made to us, the very promise that brought us here in the first place, and destroy many of us financially in the process.   

Ironically, in the same budget proposal that calls for increasing the taxes of thousands of highly skilled international employees by breaking their agreements, Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s coalition government is proposing to abolish the Dividend Tax to relieve tax burden for international companies in order to attract foreign investment.  Apparently their plan is to reward international companies, at the cost of their own employees, all while setting the precedent that the commitments made from the Dutch Government are WORTHLESS?!?   The people of the Netherlands deserve better than this.
Join us in our fight by contributing to this GoFundMe campaign, created by the United Expats of The Netherlands Stichting (UENL), to fund the first steps to investigate legal options to defend our rights. 
First, if you haven’t already, watch our video “A Message to Mark Rutte”  to learn more about the decision to change this policy, and the impact it will have on the 60,000 expats across the Netherlands and their families.

On 18 September, the Government will release its intended fiscal budget for 2019. In that budget they have proposed to reduce the 30Rule from 8 years to 5 years – withOUT including transitional regulation for current recipients of the policy.  That means the piece of paper you received from the Belastingdienst, with clear dates showing the terms of their promise….is worthless...and all the international workers that made financial commitments based on the expectation that this paper meant something, will suffer severe and lasting financial consequences.  
In preparation for this moment, over the past few months, UENL has been meeting with some of the largest law firms in the Netherlands to help us understand whether the proposal to make changes to the 30Rule without a reasonable transition period is, in fact, legal. We do not believe it is, and would like to hire a legal team to explore further. Not only does it ignore an existing precedent set (the last time they changed the 30Rule there WAS a transition period protecting existing agreements), but we believe it violates the Dutch Civil Code and European Law.

For example, Article One of the First Protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights  states: 

"Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions".

Companies and international workers negotiated salaries and banks offered home loans based on income including the 30rule tax incentive for 8 to 10 years.  By removing it prematurely, many expats will no longer be able to afford their homes, or send their kids to school.  Eventually they will not even be able to afford the cost of living here in the Netherlands, and will be forced to leave prematurely and without reasonable notice.  We do not feel this aligns with our right to peacefully enjoy our possessions. Since the Dutch Government is proposing such action, we feel this MAY constitute a violation of our human rights. 
Since no lawsuit can be initiated until the law is active in January 2019, for now, UENL would like to commission a Legal Opinion in order to illustrate the potential illegality of the legislation.  

In business / legal terms, a Legal Opinion is normally defined as:

“Written statement by a court, judicial officer, or legal expert as to the legality (or illegality) of an action, condition, or intent.”  A Legal Opinion "also may refer to the opinion given by a legal expert, such as an attorney, to provide insight as to how the law applies to a certain set of facts.” 

In layman’s terms, a Legal Opinion is where very smart (and expensive) lawyers review both Dutch and European Law to create a document containing the framework for the arguments that would be made in court, should a lawsuit be later filed.  This is a particularly powerful tool because, although the Government has proposed this legislation in its budget, it STILL requires formal Parliamentary approval (Tweede AND Eerste Kamer). As such, we plan to present this legal opinion to members of Parliament prior to Parliamentary Debates in the coming months on the issue and, in doing so, we hope this will encourage the MPs to act in the best interest of both the Netherlands and its highly skilled international workers.
We have spoken with numerous law firms, and received several quotes from reputable agencies with experience in this particular area of law. We have also spoken with numerous law professors and others with related experience to ensure that we have selected the best law firm for our needs. Ultimately, we feel we've have found the best possible firm to represent us. The cost is 21,000 EUR incl VAT (+ GoFundMe fees) and the scope will cover the legality of the proposal in the eyes of Dutch & European Law. It will also examine whether there is any liability for financial harm done to those of us who made financial commitments based on an 8/10 30rule term.  It will be compiled by a one of, if not THE, largest and most reputable law firm in the Netherlands with vast experience and success arguing similar cases against the Dutch government.  An English version will also be included.
As many of you are aware, UENL already had one round of fundraising immediately after the proposal of reducing the 30rule without transition protection for current recipients. We raised about 10,000 EUR (after GoFundMe fees) which went to fund our diplomatic efforts (video, hiring lobbyist firm, political advisor, website/social media advertising, rally, forming a Stichting, etc).  Currently, we have approximately 6500 EUR in the UENL Stichting Bank Account. We would like to keep approximately 2500 EUR in the bank account to cover any potential tax liability at the end of 2018, as well as other unanticipated UENL-related administrative costs. This leaves us approximately 4000 EUR towards funding the legal opinion. 

€21,000 - €4,000  = €17,000 + GoFundMe Fees (2.9% + €0.25/transaction) = approximately €18,000

While our goal is set at €18,000, the more we raise, the more flexibility UENL will have in case there is need for additional legal work as well as any operational cost we may experience executing this legal strategy, or just running UENL in general.  

Should this Legal Opinion make a convincing argument that this proposal is illegal, but Parliament decides to pass it anyway, UENL will investigate further the feasibility of a Lawsuit. However, this is for a later decision. Lawsuits are an expensive process, and we hope to use this legal opinion to show  all involved parties that a lawsuit is not in anyone’s best interest. If there are any leftover funds after all legal opinion related costs and UENL operational costs are covered, they will be held for financing a lawsuit, should that be necessary. 
Our goal is to present this legal opinion to the Tweede and Eerste Kamer before they debate the 2019 budget on the floor of Parliament. Below are dates, as we have them today. They are subject to change. 
·      Sep 18:   2019 Budget Presented
·      Sep 28:   If GoFundMe is successful, UENL Legal Opinion commissioned
·      Oct 12:   Legal Opinion completion date
·      Oct 15:   Legal Opinion shared

·      Oct 19 -29:   Parliamentary Recess

·      Oct 29:   Finance Committee Oral Debate (Questions)
·      Nov 05:   Finance Committee Oral Debate (Answers)
·      Nov 12:   Tweede Kamer Plenary Debate Tax Plan
·      Nov 19:   Eerste Kamer Technical Briefing Tax Plan
·      Nov 20:   Eerste Kamer General Finance Debate
·      Dec 04:   Eerste Kamer Written Consultation 
·      Dec 11:   Eerste Kamer Plenary Debate Tax Plan

If you are willing and able to donate and support this cause, thank you. You can expect that the UENL Stichting will continue to work on behalf of all 60,000 affected expats.  Information will be shared on our UENL Stichting Facebook Page , on Twitter , and our website . 
With your support, the fight will continue.
The UENL Stichting Council   
RSIN 859062867


Financial Transparency
As a Stichting foundation, UENL is obliged to keep everything transparent and available for auditing purposes.Any member can request the UENL board to check the quotes by signing a confidentiality agreement. It is also clear that as a Stichting, UENL must prepare financial income statements and a balance sheet at the end of the year so every single transaction and decision is duly and thoroughly made.

Extra Funds Beyond Goal(s)
If we successfully raise money beyond funds needed for either Legal Opinion option, any excess funds will be used to cover any additional operational cost or unanticipated fees that UENL may incur in the future, including but not limited to additional legal advice.  

What this is, What this is not
The sole intent of this Legal Opinion at this point is to persuade politicians by shedding light on various legal arguments that support transition legislation, and/or various parties that could be held liable for any financial damage done to 30rule international workers and their families. UENL is making no promises or commitments BEYOND collecting funding for, commissioning, completing, and delivering this legal document to members of Parliament, the press, expats, and any other interest parties.

We cannot stress this enough: A Legal Opinion is NOT a lawsuit...it is a legal document making arguments that could form the basis of a lawsuit, should one materialize. The members of the UENL Council are not lawyers, and merely wish to hire lawyers to examine the legality this proposal. Ultimately it is up to a court to judge what is legal and what is not.  By commissioning this Legal Opinion UENL is NOT committing at this time to proceed with a formal lawsuit if the proposal becomes law in 2019. We will cross that bridge when we get there.

This legal opinion DOES attempt to clarify for ANY parties who wish to bring a lawsuit against the Dutch Government or other liable parties for financial loss due to this legislation, legal arguments prepared by some of the best lawyers in the Netherlands.  It should, upon completion, clarify chances of success in such a lawsuit, as well as potentially make any lawsuits more affordable for parties interested in proceeding with one. 

Don't put it all on UENL, we are mere mortals
UENL also does not recommend anyone forgo their own legal action or diplomatic efforts to change this policy. We will do our best to fight on the behalf of everyone who supports this cause, but by donating to this GoFundMe you are agreeing not to hold UENL and its board members or affiliates liable for any consequences stemming from our efforts to support expat families.

Fundraising team: United Expats of NL Stichting (1)

Mike AW
Amsterdam Oud Zuid en Rivierenbuurt, NL
Jessica Taylor Piotrowski
Team member

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