Self-employed or employed? Government web module often doesn’t work

It is a question that keeps coming up since the abolition of the Declaration on Employment Relationship (VAR) in 2016: when is someone a self-employed person or not? Model agreements did not always prove to be a solution and the plan to introduce a minimum rate was also scrapped by the cabinet.

This year, a web module was tested that companies can fill in if they want to hire a freelancer for an assignment and are not sure whether this is allowed. If the answers to the questions show that a self-employed person is allowed to carry out the assignment, the client will receive a statement that provides certainty that there will be no additional tax assessments from the tax authorities.

6667 participants pilot

In the pilot, the web module was completely completed by 6667 participants, according to an evaluation that Koolmees sent to the House of Representatives.

In almost 34 percent of the cases a contract for paid employment had to be offered. In almost ten percent of the cases it was a fictitious employment and only in 28 percent of the cases someone could be hired as a self-employed person. Moreover, in about the same number of cases, no clear answer could be given.

Healthcare, catering, logistics and construction, among others, have to hire people more often.

No contract despite outcome

During the test phase, the web module also included a questionnaire that was completed in whole or in part by 725 clients. In 194 cases, it turned out that an employment contract had to be offered, while the client had not expected this. Yet only five clients who completed the questionnaire say that they are going to award a contract.

It is unclear how it will continue. Subjects that are politically sensitive are not dealt with by a caretaker cabinet. Koolmees also states in his letter that it is up to the next cabinet. In the meantime, the Tax and Customs Administration may not impose fines, provided it is clear that malicious intent is involved.


Koolmees’s letter does not go down well with all parties. “After the judges’ ruling on Uber and Deliveroo, the cabinet’s further postponement of maintaining bogus self-employment is especially bad and incomprehensible news for all people who are exploited every day. Cabinet: go and enforce!” said PvdA MP Gijs van Dijk on Twitter. He refers to a legal ruling by the Dutch court that Uber must hire its taxi drivers. However, the company is not yet carrying out that ruling.

The Platform Independent Entrepreneurs (PZO) is also dissatisfied with the state of affairs. “The self-employed have been pressing for clear and innovative regulations for more than four years and have made no progress. Important decisions on the DBA Act file are left to a new cabinet. And that may take some time.”

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