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Dutch King Risks Losing Half His Pay From Tax Proposal

(Bloomberg) -- King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands is on the verge of losing almost half his paycheck as the country’s parliament prepares to vote on a proposal to tax his income — just like those of his subjects.

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The king, as well as Queen Maxima, Princess Amalia, and the former queen, Princess Beatrix, have never paid taxes on the yearly allowance they receive for the tasks they undertake, a right that’s been anchored in the Dutch constitution. That could change after an alliance of parties presented a proposal in parliament on Thursday to alter the law.

The king, who already pays taxes on his private assets, currently receives €1.1 million ($1.2 million) annually for performing his royal duties.

A change in the law would see him pay a tax rate of 49.5% - the highest in the Dutch progressive income tax system - on most of that allowance. Queen Maxima currently receives €400,000 and Princess Beatrix receives €300,000.

Princess Catharina-Amalia, who’s first in line to the throne, has the right to receive €300,000 annually, but the young royal - Willem Alexander’s eldest child - has declined the funds while she’s still at university. The princess is currently studying politics, psychology, law and economics at the University of Amsterdam.

The proposal to tax the 56-year-old king and his immediate family members would only apply to his allowance. The rest of his costs would continue to be covered by the Dutch state. The total budget for the Dutch Royal House has been set at €75.1 million for the year, including costs for travel, supporting staff, and the maintenance of palaces.

“Whether you’re a cop or a teacher, everyone pays their dues and their fair share of keeping public services like health care and education,” said Joost Sneller, a member of the D66 party and one of the politicians responsible for the proposal. “It’s only fair that the royal family also pays their share.”

Read more: Denmark’s New King Attends Parliament After Enthronement

Calls for the king to be taxed in the same manner as his subjects have been gaining popularity for some time. Following recent elections in the Netherlands, the proposal is expected to get the two-thirds majority it needs to pass through both houses of parliament.

There have also been suggestions to tax the king symbolically, which would involve introducing an income tax while raising the king’s allowance by a compensating amount. Thursday’s proposal doesn’t include this provision.

Members of parliament will vote on the plan on Jan. 23. The proposal will also need approval in the upper house of parliament before the constitution can officially be changed.

(An earlier version corrected to remove the final amount of the king’s pay after tax.)

(Updates with detail of princess’s studies in fifth paragraph.)

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