More growth and jobs through smart ‘tax shift’ from labor to pollution:

  • € 65 billion extra GDP
  • 22 million tons less CO2 emissions
  • Reduction of wage and income tax
  • Taxes on harmful emissions
  • Purchasing power improvement for lowest incomes
  • 233,000 additional jobs by 2025


HOUTEN (NL), February 1, 2021 – Today the independent think tank The Ex’tax Project presents a Delta Plan for Tax Reform. The plan was developed in collaboration with knowledge partners Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC and will be presented to State Secretary of Finance Hans Vijlbrief today, at the start of the Circular Economy week.
Shifting the burden from labor to pollution and consumption makes it possible to reduce CO2 emissions and reduce the use of raw materials. This is important for the competitive position of our economy. If the ‘polluter pays’ principle is applied, within a few years € 23 billion will be created in space to reduce the burden on labor, for households and employers.

The net result of a tax shift is good for the economy and for employment in every sector. The smart use of the revenues will improve the purchasing power of the lowest incomes the most.

A survey of 300 entrepreneurs and managers, conducted in collaboration with ABN AMRO, shows that 96% of the respondents support the principles of a tax shift. Entrepreneurs see opportunities if a more level playing field is created for social and sustainable entrepreneurship.

“To emerge stronger from the crisis, we need to transform our tax system from a barrier to a foundation for sustainable growth and jobs. Taxes now provide the wrong incentives by making labor expensive and leaving harmful pollution untaxed. This study shows that the Netherlands can realize its circular ambitions and give the labor market a boost by not taxing more, but more intelligently.”

– Femke Groothuis, the author of the report
Taxation as a basis instead of a barrier to circular growth

Researchers from The Ex’tax Project have drawn up a scenario with 20 steps to gradually turn taxes into a basis for circular growth, rather than a barrier. The effect of these measures has been calculated by the British agency Cambridge Econometrics, a renowned knowledge partner of the European Union. In 2025, clear differences will already be visible compared to current policy:

  • The gross domestic product is 2.4% higher
  • Employment is 2.6% higher
  • CO2 emissions decrease by 6%

The plan will allow GDP to grow cumulatively by € 65 billion in the period 2021-2025 and will create 740,000 ‘man-years’ of new extra employment.


Roadmap to a circular economy

The Delta Plan on Taxes outlines a clear roadmap for the Netherlands to bring the tax system in line with the objectives. An important message is that we should see the complexity and magnitude of a tax shift as a challenge, rather than being deterred by it. Inspired by the original Delta Plan, the report recommends a number of practical steps to initiate the tax shift. Appointing a government commissioner, setting up a tax and business working group and setting up an interdepartmental consultation and an EU consultation to achieve cooperation and implementation in the rest of the European Union.

The study was made possible by the Goldschmeding Foundation.

“Through the roadmap presented today at the National Circular Economy Conference, our project partner ‘The Ex’tax Project’ shows how tax reform can boost employment in a circular economy. This perspective is particularly promising today. We hope that the findings will be used to set a clear course in the coming cabinet formation.”

– Birgitta Kramer, Program Manager Circular Economy at Goldschmeding Foundation
About The Ex’tax Project:

Since 2009, The Ex’tax Project has been investigating the possibilities of aligning taxes with the goals of the circular and inclusive economy. The organization works together with various parties from the business community, governments and the social sector in the Netherlands and abroad.


About the Goldschmeding Foundation:

The Goldschmeding Foundation works towards an inclusive and sustainable society based on the conviction that a better world can be created when people serve each other’s interests. To this end, the foundation supports innovative practical projects and excellent scientific research within the programs Inclusive Labor Market, Circular Economy and Respectable Society.


For more information:

The Ex’tax Project

Peter Gersen (Vice President)
T. +31 6 – 523 86 124