Cross-border aspects of pensions in the Netherlands, including tax treaty and EU law

This article discusses the cross-border aspects of pensions, focusing on the connection between the treatment of pension schemes under tax treaties and the treatment under EU law. The cross-border aspects of pensions are characterized primarily by the potential conflict between two factors: the ability to accrue a pension without impediments during the accrual phase, regardless of where one works or lives, and the claim which the legislature wants to maintain to the fullest extent possible on the payments made from pensions accrued under favourable tax provisions. It is not easy to balance these two factors, if only because tax treaties and EU law both apply and, for the time being, the national legislatures appear to have little grip on the situation; this, in any event, can be said with respect to the Netherlands. In the last two decades in particular, the tax aspects of cross-border pensions have played an important role in Dutch regulations and case law, especially regarding tax considerations. The discussion considers the international and EU tax aspects, with particular emphasis on the Dutch perspective.