Introduction

Dutch law regarding payments to third parties has changed. As of January 1st, 2022, we are required to collect BSN and date of birth of third parties to whom we provide compensation. In the context of research, that means research participants. The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (henceforth: DTCA) expects universities to report payments gathered during 2022, to participants living in the Netherlands, in January 2023.

Recent Changes:
15-02-2022: Added Dutch translations for Qualtrics Template and Information Letter
16-02-2022: Added FAQ and Timeline

New obligation to collect BSN

As a result, you must collect the following participant data to help us comply with the law: full name, street name, apartment/house number, ZIP code, city, country, date of birth, BSN number, and IBAN if relevant. The FSSC (Financial Shared Service Center) will not proceed with payment for new studies without this information. 

Processing BSN

FSW is fully aware of the administrative burden and privacy risks involved in processing the BSN. We are therefore working with the FSSC and Bestuursbureau to develop a structural solution for the registration of these data. We aim to redesign the payment process and provide a platform through which BSN can be collected directly by the FSSC, without intermediaries. FSW will actively participate in this project. We will inform you about the timeline.

Difficulties in gathering BSN

Several researchers have provided us already with important input that raises questions about the feasibility and desirability of this new law. In a number of cases, compliance will be hard to achieve. For instance, the law also applies to older studies in which participants’ compensation is set to occur after January 1st, 2022. Researchers are expected in that case to collect the BSN from participants who did not agree to provide one in exchange for compensation. 

We are aware that, aside from the administrative burden and privacy risks, this also has a potentially corrosive effect on the reputation of our scientists. It furthermore threatens to endanger knowledge production at the university, for example due to the risk of introducing bias in participation demographics, rates, and so on.  

Together with national institutions like DSW and Nethics, we have gathered arguments to plead our case before the DTCA. We wish to make the above issues clear to relevant executive and legislative bodies. In order to do this, we need your continued input and collaboration. 

In the meantime, we have developed a provisional guideline in order for you to comply with the current regulations whilst being able to continue your research activities. For any future data collection, you are required to adhere to these provisional guidelines until further notice.

Privacy and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Please note that processing BSN does not violate the GDPR. The GDPR requires a legal ground for processing personal information. In this case, that ground is legal obligation: we process BSN for purposes of legal compliance. If participants have consented to the study and are informed about processing BSN, you do not need consent to process BSN.

Ethics, Committees and the METC

For ongoing studies, submitting an amendment to your respective Ethics Committee is not needed, even if BSN collection was not included in the original submission. We are in talks with the METC to align our approaches.

Provisionary guidelines

The following is a step-by-step for participant payment information collection:  

1. Information letter contents: your information letter must inform participants that data will be collected for payment and tax purposes. Example text can be found here

2. How to collect payment information online: after securing informed consent, you can use a dedicated Qualtrics survey to collect payment details. A download link and instructions can be found here. We consider Qualtrics to be a safe solution.  

3. How to collect payment information offline: although we strongly prefer the Qualtrics survey, pen-and-paper forms for collecting payment information may be used if necessary (template here). Store these forms securely. Do not collect BSN on the paper informed-consent forms. 

4. Collect BSN into Excel file: data collected via Qualtrics survey or pen-and-paper form should be stored in the FSSC’s Excel file for participant payment. You can find the Excel form here. After this has been done, delete the data from Qualtrics or safely dispose of the paper forms.   

5. Store the Excel file: store the Excel file the way you store a key file: secured with a password, with limited access, in a dedicated folder on network storage (J-drive), Sharepoint or ResearchDrive.

6. Submit the Excel file: submit the Excel file to the FSSC as you would usually do: through the service portal (general information, manual). 

7. Archive the Excel file: do not delete the Excel file after payment. The retention period for financial data is seven years. 

The templates will be updated when necessary. Make sure you are using the most current version of documents by consulting this Wiki.

Exceptions to the obligation to collect BSN

Take note of the following circumstances: 

  • If participants in a new study cannot acquire a BSN, you do not have to collect it. Note that international participants residing and paying taxes in the Netherlands are responsible for acquiring a BSN.
  • Participants in an ongoing study for which you did not mention BSN at the time of ethical approval and you already collected the other financial data without BSN. See F.A.Q..
  • When participants are recruited through platforms which pay them for their labor, those platforms are responsible for supplying relevant information to the DTCA. You do not have to collect BSN for those participants, regardless of nationality. This is the case for Prolific for instance. 

Contact information

If you have any questions about the above information or feedback, please contact us at bsn@fsw.leidenuniv.nl. This mailbox is monitored by FSW’s controller , policy officer researchprivacy officer, and information manager.

Templates

For all templates texts, keep in mind that you adjust the language / wording to fit the target audience. If you are unsure about the final text please contact privacy@fsw.leidenuniv.nl

English Information Letter

New law about participant compensation and payment 

Dutch universities are legally obligated to report participant compensation to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. We must report full name, street name, apartment/house number, ZIP code, city, country, date of birth, BSN number, and IBAN if relevant. Excluded from these rules are participants who are not taxable in the Netherlands.

Optional: Participation compensation increases your total income and thus may affect your tax report. If you receive welfare benefits for instance, you may not have any income above your monthly stipend. You will be expected to pay back whatever you earn above that limit. 

Whether or not the Tax Administration will make you pay taxes on our payments will depend on your personal situation. Please consult the Tax Administration’s website for more information on how this might affect you

How do we process your information? 

We will store your data securely. Financial information will be kept separate from research data. Data will only be accessible by our financial department, who will pass it on securely to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. We will retain your financial data for 7 years, to comply with legal requirements. 

Can I refuse to provide some or all of the requested information? 

You may withhold any data that you want, including BSN. Doing so means that our financial department will not be able to pay you for participation, however. 

Can I access the stored information, have it removed or corrected? 

You may request access, rectification or removal of your stored data, under some circumstances. Please contact our Data Protection Officer: privacy@bb.leidenuniv.nl.

Dutch Information Letter

Nieuwe wet over vergoedingen en uitbetaling van deelnemers

Nederlandse universiteiten zijn wettelijk verplicht om deelnemersvergoedingen te melden bij de Belastingdienst. We moeten de volledige naam, straatnaam, appartement-/huisnummer, postcode, stad, land, geboortedatum, BSN-nummer en indien relevant IBAN doorgeven. Uitgezonderd hiervan zijn deelnemers die niet belastingplichtig zijn in Nederland.

Optioneel: De deelnamevergoeding verhoogt uw totale inkomen en kan dus gevolgen hebben voor uw belastingaangifte. Als u bijvoorbeeld een bijstandsuitkering ontvangt, mag u geen inkomen hebben boven uw maandbedrag. Er wordt van u verwacht dat u alles terugbetaalt wat u boven die limiet verdient.

Raadpleeg de website van de Belastingdienst voor meer informatie over de gevolgen voor u.

Hoe verwerken wij uw gegevens?

Wij slaan uw gegevens veilig op. Financiële informatie wordt apart opgeslagen van de onderzoeksgegevens en zijn toegankelijk voor onze financiële afdeling, die deze veilig doorgeeft aan de Belastingdienst. We bewaren uw financiële gegevens 7 jaar om te voldoen aan de wettelijke vereisten.

Kunt u weigeren om sommige of alle gevraagde informatie te verstrekken?

Het invullen van BSN gegevens is geen randvoorwaarde voor deelname, maar wel voor betaling.

Kunt u de opgeslagen informatie inzien, laten verwijderen of corrigeren?

U kunt onder bepaalde omstandigheden verzoeken om toegang, rectificatie of verwijdering van uw opgeslagen gegevens. Neem dan contact op met onze Functionaris Gegevensbescherming: privacy@bb.leidenuniv.nl.

Een andere variant is (ECPW): 

In verband met de vergoeding zijn wij verplicht te vragen naar uw adres, IBAN rekeningnummer met tenaamstelling, uw geboortedatum en uw BSN (burgerservicenummer), zodat de financiële administratie van de Universiteit Leiden de uitbetaling in orde kan maken. Uiteraard slaan wij deze betalingsgegevens apart op van de onderzoeksdata, zodat deze gegevens nooit aan elkaar te koppelen zijn. De Universiteit is wettelijk verplicht om aan de Belastingdienst te melden welke vergoeding u heeft ontvangen voor het deelnemen aan een onderzoek. Of de Belastingdienst belasting zal heffen over deze betaling, hangt af van uw persoonlijke situatie.

Deze tekst kan worden gecombineerd met informatie over de bewaartermijn en de contactgegevens van de Functionaris Gegevensbescherming.

 

Collection via Qualtrics Survey

The Qualtrics survey template (and instructions) for collecting payment details can be found here.

Collection via Paper-and-Pen Forms

To collect payment details via pen-and-paper, please find a suggested template in English and Dutch, and the key-form here. Important: use a key-form (English, Dutch) to keep a list of internal and external participant codes. Use the external participant code on the payment forms and in communications to the FSSC.

If you print the form on separate pages, you can give the participant the first information page to take home.

After collecting the information, you can fill in the Excel form.

Updates & Timeline

02-03-2022: (upcoming) meeting with the FSSC and the Bestuursbureau to develop a structural solution for the registration of BSN. 

18-02-2022: Process flow for payment in ongoing studies agreed by the Director of Finance.

16-02-2022: BSN issue addressed on the agenda of the joint Deans of Social Sciences (DSW) by the The National Ethics Council for Social and Behavioral Sciences. DSW will collectively and unanimously take a stand against the Tax Administration and request an exemption position for participants (e.g. under the category of volunteers).

Also the DPO-network of Dutch universities have requested UNL to address the issue.

11-02-2022: We took inventory of ongoing studies at FSW in three categories:

  1. Ongoing studies where payment has already been made to participants (and BSN has not been collected so far).
  2. Ongoing studies where adding the BSN collection may be technically or practically very difficult.
  3. Specific participant groups for which BSN collection may be unwanted or unfeasible.

We provided input to the Director of Finance about these studies for the Tax Administration (see F.A.Q.).

F.A.Q.

We will discuss the practical approaches with the FSSC and update the F.A.Q.

TopicDateQuestionAnswer
Ongoing study11-02-2022Do we need to collect BSN retrospectively?

No. We took inventory of ongoing studies at FSW and provided input to the Financial Director about these studies for the Tax Administration. If you have not conveyed anything about BSN collection to your participants at the time of your ethical approval process and you have already collected remaining necessary financial data before 1-1-2022, then you do not need to collect BSN. When submitting your declaration to FSSC, email FSW’s controller. He will inform the head of the FSSC that your batch will be paid out with the approval of the Director of Finance.

New study11-02-2022

At which point in the new study do we ask for the financial data including BSN?

Some participants may not yet have a BSN, but may have one later. Will we have to repeatedly ask participants who have previously said they do not have a BSN whether they now have one? If so, in which intervals?

You need to collect the financial data one time only. Collect these data as the last part of the study. E.g. in a longitudinal study you collect these data in the last session.

For participants planning to live and pay taxes in the Netherlands, you collect their BSN when they have acquired it.

You can request the FSSC multiple times to process payments.

New study23-2-2022What do we hand in to  FSSC when a participant has not provided BSN in the new study?

If the participant's residence country is the Netherlands, then FSSC expects BSN to be filled in.

It may happen that a Dutch participant lives outside the Netherlands at the time when you collect BSN. In that case you fill in the foreign country with no BSN and no date of birth.

If 'Country' in the Excel template is not the Netherlands, payment in SAP will be processed without BSN and without date of birth. In fact, if you fill in BSN in the Excel and the country is not the Netherlands, SAP will not look at BSN.

Qualtrics11-02-2022Are we allowed to use Qualtrics to collect financial data?Yes, for studies only.
Excel16-02-2022Can we store the Excel file on Sharepoint / OneDrive?Yes, but make sure that you have it password protected.
Informed consent16-02-2022

How will the remuneration policy take the use of non-written informed consent procedures into account?

Consent should be given by a clear affirmative act, such as an oral statement. It should be possible to separate the recording (and further processing) of BSN and the other recorded data.
Information letter16-02-2022Should we mention the use of study ID / participant ID in the informed consent?It is transparant for the participant to do so. However, it may not always be easy to describe the procedure in plain language.
Information letter11-02-2022Under what circumstances can a participant request access, rectification and removal of stored data?An overall rule can not be applied (case-by-case basis).
Retention period11-02-2022

Do we need to retain the financial data for at least 7 years or can we state a maximum period?

We need to retain the data for six years plus the current year. See 'selectielijst'. This will be the case until the process has been redesigned.

The information letter has been updated.

BSN verification11-02-2022How do we, or how does FSSC know if someone should have a BSN?

We cannot verify if a participant should have a BSN.

If the participant's residence country is the Netherlands and the participant pays taxes in the Netherlands, then FSSC expects BSN to be filled in.

Background information:

  • If participants are residing here for >4 months, they can get registered in the BasisRegistratie Personen (BRP) and will receive a BSN.
  • If participants are residing here for <4 months, they can get registered in the Registratie Niet-Ingezetenen (RNI). They are not required to acquire a BSN under Dutch law, but they can still get one.

Here is a complete overview of what people can do to get a BSN. UL organizes town-halls to help with this.

Note you should not ask any questions about the possibility of acquiring a BSN. This will be the case until the process has been redesigned. If no BSN is available, fill in the Excel "BSN not available".

Online recruitment platform11-02-2022Do we need to collect BSN if we do not cover payment?

No.

If another organization or business is covering payment, then they need to collect these data.

Country11-02-2022

Do participants in our study require a Dutch address?

What about people with a BSN, do they require a Dutch address?

Participants do not require a Dutch address.

Note that non-SEPA payments (above 4,50 Euro) are more labor-intensive with a so-called PNIL-form. That form does not require BSN.

International participant16-02-2022If we work with international participants, for example interview partners from outside NL, do we need to attempt to acquire BSN?Only international participants residing in the Netherlands acquire BSN.
Address23-2-2022What address do we need to collect? You collect the residential address (not shipping address), at the expected time of payment. 
Bank account23-2-2022What if the participant lives in the Netherlands but has a foreign bank account?A foreign IBAN bank account is not primary for FSSC's processing of BSN. It depends on the residence country.
Anonymous participant16-02-2022

There are situations in which people give consent to participate in the research on the condition that their identity remains hidden.

To be discussed with Tax Department.
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