NETHERLANDS - The Dutch tax system discriminates against entrepreneurs as they build up their pensions, according to professor Gerry Dietvorst of Tilburg University.

According to Dietvorst, who is also connected to insurer Interpolis, the tax service has been focussing on employee’s pensions during the last couple of decades.

“The pensions for entrepreneurs have been neglected in the meantime,” he told a conference for tax advisers. “The fiscal framework for the entrepreneurial pensions is a motley and frayed patchwork quilt, which is in urgent need of replacement.”

Two special schemes for the target group were no longer effective for the pension needs of the entrepreneur. “The old-age provision doesn’t offer any certainty that he will ever draw any pension from it. And the extra discount on the premiums for a life annuity, in case a company is being closed down, hasn’t been adjusted for decades.”

Dietvorst pleaded in favour of a new fiscal framework as an ‘old-age umbrella’. “A requirement for a better and more righteous system is a virtual pensions register, which allows individuals to get an insight in the build-up of their own pension via the internet.”

“Denmark and Sweden have already shown the technical feasibility of such a virtual register,” Dietvorst added. According to him the tax service should play a central role within such a scheme.

Professor Dietvorst is co-author of a report on the unequal treatment of pensions and life annuities. “The difference between employees and entrepreneurs is disappearing. Employees are more often (part-time) entrepreneurs as well,” he explained.