NETHERLANDS – Dutch Social Affairs minister Aart Jan de Geus is again to look at the possibilities of creating a ‘levensloop’, or life course, scheme for the self-employed.

Answering parliamentary questions about the financial consequences of offering such a scheme, De Geus indicated that the issue would be part of a wider review of the government’s policy on work and income.

The results will be presented at the same time as with the budget for 2007, he added.

A levensloop for self-employed based on a maximum yearly contribution of 12% of the legal minimum salary would cost the taxpayer at least €270m while basing it on 12% of the profits of a self-employed person’s business would cost €1.1bn, the minister said.

De Geus made clear that the depositing of the levensloop savings of self-employed with a bank, insurer or investment institution was not an option for a fiscally supported levensloop scheme. “This doesn’t make monitoring easier for the taxman,” he said.

According to the minister, the current fiscal rules for the building up of retirement savings for the self-employed are comparable with those for employees.

The levensloop is a new tax-friendly savings scheme that is intended to discourage early retirement. Workers can save for a salary substitute during unpaid leave for study, care and parental leave. It still allows early retirement as well.

At present, self-employed cannot participate in a levensloop scheme. The government’s position on the question has been that being self-employed, they cannot take leave as they don not have a labour obligation to an employer.

In addition, according to De Geus: “The self-employed have more possibilities for spreading time and income throughout the course of their life. And it is difficult to check whether the self-employed are taking leave.”