FASTER: Faster retrieval of Foreign Withholding Tax?

22 May 2024

The European Directive proposal: FASTER has been approved by the EU Council on 14 May. As a result, the procedures for redeeming withholding tax and filing for exemptions will be harmonized throughout the EU. This Directive is a major step towards introducing standardized procedures, allowing for faster and easier retrieval of foreign withholding tax.

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Written by:
Nick Goossens Tax advisor
paying dividends for international entrepreneurs

Simplifying procedures

Currently, the procedures to obtain exemptions and tax refunds on Foreign Withholding Tax are an administrative hassle. This often delays parties from obtaining tax relief to which they are entitled. Additionally, these procedures often result in excessive costs, discouraging individual investors from utilizing them. FASTER has been devised to address this.


FASTER aims to reduce barriers to European investments by creating digital, fiscal residence certificates. FASTER also standardizes procedures for tax refunds and repayments. Under the FASTER system the correct tax rate is withheld at the time of the dividend distribution or the interest payment. Alternatively, excess tax paid is refunded within fifty days after payment through the FASTER procedure. Member states can choose which method to apply. To prevent abuse, FASTER establishes standardized reporting obligations to effectively monitor misuse.

What does FASTER mean for you?

In the future you will be able to access benefits from tax treaties and EU directives more easily. This will save you time and money. Additionally, the European Commission expects that FASTER will reduce current practical trade barriers, making European investments more attractive to foreign investors.

The European implementation of FASTER is expected at the start of 2025. As soon as the European implementation is finalized, member states will introduce national legislation. This means that you may already enjoy the benefits of FASTER in the near future. 

Want to know more?

At ABAB, we want to be of service. By sharing knowledge, providing advice, and ensuring insights. If you would like to know more about withholding taxes or FASTER, please contact Nick Goossens, tax advisor in the international practice. You can reach Nick by phone at +31 (0)13 59 151 28 or send him an email. Our tax advisors are also available to assist you with any other questions in the field of tax advice.

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