Starting a business in the Netherlands as an expat? Keep this in mind

The Netherlands is a great place to start your own business. There are plenty of market opportunities, people are open to new developments and are willing to pay for it.
On the other hand… in the Netherlands there are a large number of administrative matters that you have to take into account when starting your own company. To start a business here, for example, you must first ensure that you are actually allowed to live and work in the Netherlands.
Are you not from an EU or EEA country or are you not Swiss? Then you must apply for an MVV ('Permission for Provisional Residence') and in some cases a work permit (TWV). When applying, keep in mind that your intended company must serve an essential Dutch interest.

Dutch legal forms

When you are sure that you can live and work in the Netherlands, it is time to decide which legal form your company will take. It is important to choose a structure with the right legal form, because this determines the liability for tax obligations.

This can be quite complicated, luckily there are service providers such as Holland Startup that help you make such decisions. For example, freelancers and small entrepreneurs usually opt for the sole proprietorship structure, where the most common form for larger companies is a BV.

Company registration at the Chamber of Commerce

When you have decided what type of business you want to start, you register with the Chamber of Commerce (Chamber of Commerce). This is mandatory. Registration must take place from one week before the start of the work until one week after the start of the work.

As soon as your company is registered with the Chamber of Commerce, you will receive a unique company number, also known as the Chamber of Commerce number. It is mandatory to use this number on all invoices and outgoing mail.

Dutch Business Tax

In addition to being registered with the Chamber of Commerce, your company must also be registered with the Tax Authorities. It is wise to register as soon as possible, so that you can claim VAT deduction.

How does Dutch VAT (VAT) work?

– When you bill customers for your services or when they pay for your products, you need to add 21% additional VAT tax to your regular rate.
– Every quarter you calculate the VAT return and you pay the VAT to the tax authorities.
– You pay VAT, but you can deduct VAT from operating costs.

In addition to VAT, business owners in the Netherlands pay some or all of the following taxes:

  • Income tax
  • Wage tax (when you have employees)
  • Corporate tax (applies only to companies with legal personality)

You can of course also contact Holland Startup for help with Dutch business tax.

Business Administration

In the Netherlands, companies are obliged to keep a business administration. Every entrepreneur is legally obliged to keep this administration for 7 years. The Business Administration includes:

– Invoices sent and received
- Bank statements
– Contracts and agreements
– Cost of business activities

Last but not least - insurance and pensions

As an independent entrepreneur you run risks and you have a lot of responsibilities.
Taking out insurance protects you against such risks and more importantly, taking out insurance can guarantee an income if you are unable to work yourself. The three most important insurance policies for entrepreneurs can be found below:

  1. As an entrepreneur, you are liable for personal injury and material damage that you, your product or your employees cause on your behalf. That's why a business liability insurance of interest. This insurance reimburses the damage that you cause to others from your company.
  2. Another common insurance policy is the disability insurance with which you are assured of an income if you are ill for a long time.
  3. A health insurance is mandatory for everyone in the Netherlands. As an entrepreneur you pay a contribution based on your taxable income.

Conflicts arise, whether with customers, employees or suppliers. It happens to everyone. That is why many starting entrepreneurs take out legal assistance insurance. When taking out this insurance, you can count on help and advice with legal problems.

At Holland Startup, first-time entrepreneurs realize their entrepreneurial ambitions. We guide, coach and finance young entrepreneurs to turn ideas into successful startups.
We enable young entrepreneurs to shape our society! Will you join us?

share this message: