Can I have the 30% ruling if I start my own business?

If you are working for an employer under the 30 per cent ruling, you can continue to make use of the 30 per cent ruling if you start your own business in The Netherlands.

One of the requirements is that you, as an entrepreneur you are employed by your own private limited liability company (BV), that is, that you are on the payroll of your company. It is important that the company is a legal entity paying taxes in the Netherlands.

The following requirements need to be met if you would like to implement the 30% ruling for your own BV:

  • During your current employment the 30% ruling has already been granted in the Netherlands
  • Within 3 months after ending your current employment you need to sign a contract with your own BV which was set up before the signing of the contract
  • The Dutch BV pays a taxable income of at least € 37,00 (without the 30% ruling) less if you are under 30 years of age or have a masters degree
  • A new request for the 30% ruling must be filed with the Dutch tax authorities

In principle the conditions for  the 30%-ruling still apply if you start a company yourself.

For more information on the conditions  please see:

www.belastingdienst.nl/wps/wcm/connect/bldcontenten/belastingdienst/individuals/living_and_working/working_in_another_country_temporarily/you_are_coming_to_work_in_the_netherlands/30_facility_for_incoming_employees/conditions_30_p_facility/

 

 

 

Can I apply for a start-up permit if I currently have highly skilled migrant status in the Netherlands?

Yes, provided all other conditions are met. In principle, if the purpose of your stay changes you can apply for a different, that is new, residence permit. One condition in this regard is that they are supervised by a reliable business mentor (facilitator) in the Netherlands. Some facilitators work on commercial basis (not all), alternative is you go through the self employed person procedure: ind.nl/en/work/pages/self-employed-person.aspx

If you have a highly-skilled migrant (kennismigrant) residence permit and would like to start your own business under the start-up rule you can apply for the start-up residence permit if you fulfil the requirements for the start-up scheme.

For frequently asked questions see: ind.nl/en/Documents/FAQ_Startup.pdf

 

What are the steps to start my own business in the Netherlands?

Registration with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK Kamer van Koophandel)

Before you are allowed to start your business operations you must register your enterprise in the Dutch Trade Register at the Chambers of Commerce (KvK). Registrations in the Trade Register are public.

All entrepreneurs are required to register with the Chamber of Commerce  (KvK). You qualify as an entrepreneur if you supply goods or services independently with the intention to make profit.

Self-employed without personnel (ZZP) and freelancers also have to register if their business satisfies the criteria for an enterprise. If unsure about whether you need to register your business contact the KvK.

You need to choose the legal form of your business before registering it at the KvK.

You should register with the Chamber of Commerce:

  • No later than one week after starting your business;
  • One week prior to starting your business;
  • Earlier, in which case, the registration (with Chamber of Commerce registration number) will become official one week before the start of your business.

There is a registration fee that cannot be paid in cash.

You can register at the KvK by filling in an online form before you make the necessary appointment that will complete your registration procedure. At the appointment you will receive your KvK registration and VAT number. The appointment can be made online or by telephone.

In principle there is no need to register separately with the Dutch tax office (Belastigndienst) as that is automatically achieved when registering with the KvK. You will receive a VAT-number (btw-nummer) and a KvK number (identification number for legal entities and associations). If you are unsure whether the registration with the Dutch tax office has been done, we suggest you to check it with the KvK officer.

You do need to register separately with the Tax Authority (Belastingdienst) if you are starting a business as a limited company (BV) or a foundation (Stichting), because different criteria are used to establish whether you are an entrepreneur for VAT or income tax purposes.

Licences and Permits

Most businesses operate without permits or licenses, but for some, like the catering business, transport, or a taxi firm, a license is needed. If your products or business operations affect the environment an environmental permit may be required.

Permits and licenses are issued by the municipality or the provincial authorities.

Some sectors require registration with an industry board or a product board. Registration is a statutory requirement, based on the Act on Business Organisations.

Regulated professions and professional competence requirements.

A diploma or permit is usually not needed for starting a business in The Netherlands. There are, however so called regulated professions and professions subjected to professional competence requirements.

A regulated profession is one you can practice only if you meet the professional qualifications established by law. The legal profession is a typical example. The list is long and can be checked here:

ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/regprof/index.cfm?action=regprofs&id_country=10&quid=1&mode=asc&maxRows=*

Professional competence requirements apply to professions, such as: personnel in healthcare and child care, architects and town planners,  financial service providers, bailiffs, bus and lorry drivers, driving instructors, crew of seagoing vessels, security guards and other.

European agreements on mutual recognition of diplomas enable access to regulated professions in member states. The Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education, Nuffic, can inform you about the status of your national diploma in the Netherlands and possible access to a Dutch regulated profession. Visit the Nuffic website for further information: www.nuffic.nl/en/diploma-recognition/recognition-of-your-profession-in-the-netherlands

You can also have your foreign credentials evaluated by IDW (International Credential Evaluation): www.idw.nl/en/

See comprehensive information at: business.gov.nl/regulation/professional-qualifications/

Memberships

For some businesses/professions it is advisable to register at, or become member of an umbrella organisation. For example, tourism.

A tour operator will find it hard to attract customers without registration at the General Dutch Association of Travel Agencies, (ANVR), which prescribes travel and booking terms conditions, or membership of the Travel Guarantee Fund Foundation (SGR) which guarantees repayment in case of default of the tour operator. Over the years both memberships have become almost a necessity.

 

What are the general residence requirements for entrepreneurs?

To qualify for a two-year residence permit as a self-employed entrepreneur, the business should serve an essential Dutch interest.

That is assessed by the IND upon advice of The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), a part of Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, which uses a point-based-system to grade the enterprise in three categories:

  • personal experience
  • business plan
  • added value to The Netherlands

Each of these criteria is allotted points. With 90 points out of a possible 300, the applicant is eligible for a residence permit.

There are exemptions according to your nationality:

Long-term EU resident EC

In a number of EU Member States it is possible to obtain long-term resident EC status, a European type of permanent residence permit.

With that status you do not need to score points under the point-based system when applying for a residence permit for entrepreneurs. You do need to present evidence that your enterprise has a viable chance of success in the Netherlands, by providing:

  • a business plan including: market analysis, product/service, pricing, structure of organization, financing
  • proof of expected turnover: prognosis made by a registered bookkeeper/accountant over the next 3 years
  • the necessary licenses to practice your profession
  • copies of degrees/diplomas if applicable
  • copy of the long-term resident EC permit issued by another EU Member State

The list of EU states that grant resident EC status can be found here:

ind.nl/en/Pages/long-term-resident-ec.aspx

Citizens of the US and Japan

They are exempt from the criteria and point system, based on inter-state treaties. They must develop and direct an enterprise in which they have made (not borrowed) an investment of at least 4.500 euros. They also need to have full control of the funds and be subject to the entrepreneurial risk.

Nationals of Turkey

Are exempt from the point system, based on a treaty with the EU. They do, however, need to submit information and evidence required by the prescribed criteria.

In order to avoid initial rejection it is necessary to be well informed and fully understand the set criteria when applying for this type of residence permit.

Further details on how the Dutch government determines whether you are an entrepreneur can be found at:

ind.nl/en/pages/scoring-system-self-employed-persons.aspx

ind.nl/en/work/pages/self-employed-person.aspx

How do I terminate/dissolve my company?

For various reasons  the time may come, or you may decide to stop with your business. You may  wish to close down or sell, or find yourself facing bankruptcy. It is also good to know what happens in case of your death, or succession within the family.

When closing down or selling you will need to settle your debts, follow the rules on dismissal if you have employees and you will have to file a final tax return.

  • As of 1 April 2017 debtors are granted a six month statutory grace period for paying back their debt. During that time creditors cannot claim any money or confiscate any goods. If you are no longer able to pay your debts and you have an Eenmanszaak or are partner in a partnership (maatschap or vennootschap), you are personally liable for your business’s debts. You can appeal to your municipality for debt restructuring. If this fails you can appeal to a court for debt restructuring. For more information: business.gov.nl/regulation/debt-restructuring/
  • If you have employees you are expected to follow dismissal procedures. There are various dismissal procedures that you should familiarize yourself with.
  • Finally, you will have to file a final tax return. Settling your tax obligations may vary depending on how/why the business is being terminated, whether it is closing down, being sold, or whether it is an issue of family succession or death or divorce.

Closing down

If you are closing down your business you need to report that to the Chamber of Commerce (KvK) which will pass on the information to the Belastingdienst (tax office). They will send you a written confirmation. In case you do not receive it, you need to inform them yourself.

You must also:

  • close the accounts of your discontinued business
  • file the annual reports and accounts up to and including the cessation date as soon as possible
  • make a final calculation and submit a final VAT return

You need to send in final tax returns for all relevant taxes, such as income tax, VAT or any other type of tax. If you have built up a retirement reserve, you need to settle that with your income tax. If you withdraw goods from your business for private use, you must pay VAT on these goods.

Selling your business

If you transfer your business (or a part of your business), you must calculate the discontinuation profit (stakingswinst) and pay income tax on that amount. As well as being relevant for income tax, wage tax and VAT purposes, selling  your business may also have capital gains tax consequences or affect social insurance benefits.

For further details visit the Dutch government website:

business.gov.nl/guides-for-doing-business/closing-down-a-business/guide-for-closing-down-a-business/

 If you are no longer able to pay off your debts, then another procedure applies:

Bankruptcy

You can petition the court to be declared bankrupt. You can do that for yourself or for the company you represent. You do not need a lawyer to submit the application to the court.

 If you have two or more creditors, they can file for your bankruptcy through a lawyer.

All your assets are seized in a bankruptcy. Depending on the legal form of your business, you may also be declared personally bankrupt.

If the court declares you or your company bankrupt, it will appoint an official receiver. That will be the only person allowed to administer your company from the day that you have been declared bankrupt. The receiver can sell your assets and divide the proceeds among your creditors. The receiver can decide whether you have to stop your work at once or at a later moment in time. The receiver can also give permission for certain activities you are allowed to do., for example, concern selling, concluding contracts or paying or collecting bills.

For further details visit the Dutch government website:

business.gov.nl/ending-your-business/bankruptcy/

Can I change the legal form of my company?

Yes, although changes in the legal form have fiscal and administrative consequences. They need to be reported to the tax authorities and the Chamber of Commerce and may entail application for new municipal license.

You can find the forms related to this topic on the KvK’s website:

www.kvk.nl/english/registration/forms-for-registration-and-reporting-changes/

Can I transfer my business to The Netherlands?

If you run a one-man business in your country of origin and you can prove it, for example by submitting a copy of registration in a commercial register in that country, you can bring this enterprise to the Netherlands and have it registered at the Chamber of Commerce as a Dutch eenmanszaak.

Other legal foreign entities or foreign business forms are simply registered as a foreign legal entity with commercial activities. Please note that IND rules on residence always apply.

What insurances should I consider as a self-employed professional?

Before starting a business, you should evaluate the possible risks in your particular line of work and insure them. An independent entrepreneur runs risks unknown to employees, such as not having any income when unable to work due to illness or accident, or being held responsible for mistakes or damage caused.

There are various types of personal and business insurance:

Healthcare insurance

A healthcare insurance (basisverzekering) is mandatory in The Netherlands. Every resident of the Netherlands pays a nominal premium of approximately EUR 1,300 per year on a basic health insurance. This premium is paid directly to the health insurance company of your choice. Extra insurance is needed to cover various risks. More information on the FAQ about Duth Health insurance.

You could also consider partial or private invalidity insurance and accident insurance.

Pension insurance

Every inhabitant of the Netherlands aged over 65 (soon to be age 67) receives AOW, a national old age pension. This is a basic pension, which may not be sufficient to live on. Therefore, be advised to build up a supplementary pension through a pension insurance scheme. You could take out an annuity policy or another type of savings scheme.

For more information visit the Dutch government website:

business.gov.nl/regulation/pension/

Other insurances

Professional types of insurance include: business and professional liability insurance, business liability insurance, professional liability insurance, legal expenses insurance, insurance for goods, machinery and equipment; buildings insurance, credit insurance.

For more information visit the Dutch government website:

business.gov.nl/regulation/self-employed-professionals-insurances/

 

 

 

What kinds of financial support for starters is available in the Netherlands?

A solid financial plan will significantly increase your chances of getting the money that you need for starting a business. To help you in financially setting up your business the Chamber of Commerce (KvK) has put together a leaflet:

static.business.gov.nl/includes/downloads/Financieringswijzer-Engels.pdf

There are numerous funding schemes, loans and subsidies for starters and small and medium size businesses in The Netherlands. Information about funding and loans is available here: business.gov.nl/financing-your-business/funding-and-loans/

Funding is available from the Dutch government, from European sources and from private investors and banks.

Bank Loans

There are several large banks (ABN-AMRO, ING Bank, Rabobank,) which offer business/starters packages. Expect to pay a monthly fee. You may pay extra for on-line banking and a debit and/or credit card. These banks also offer insurance (liability, personnel, disability, stock etc.).

More information on how to open a bank account here.

The following site enables comparison by publishing price-performance overviews of business bank accounts (in Dutch only):

zzpdaily.nl/zakelijke-rekening-openen-vergelijken/

Subsidies

The Chamber of Commerce (KvK) has a Help Desk Business Finance. Also business desks in the town halls of the larger cities in The Netherlands as well as expat centers in Amsterdam and The Hague, for example, offer a wealth of information about starting a business including financing options.

General information about subsidies, various types of programmes and tips about how to apply can be found at:

business.gov.nl/financing-your-business/subsidies/

Another starting point could be to make inquiries in the province in which you are setting up your business. There are numerous regional development corporations (RDCs), or regionale ontwikkelingsmaatschappij (ROM), around the Netherlands that invest in private businesses.  For more information and relevant links please see:

business.gov.nl/financing-your-business/funding-and-loans/government-funding/funding-from-regional-development-corporations/

There are also various subsidies and tax reduction schemes that you can profit from as a small, starting enterprise. There are subsidies for environmental initiatives, art and culture, research and innovation, etc.

www.government.nl/topics/enterprise-and-innovation/support-for-small-and-medium-sized-enterprises-smes

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency ( RVO) provides personal advice and assistance to business owners about relevant subsidies, tax benefits, partners, knowledge and legislation. For more detailed information you can visit the following links: english.rvo.nl/topics/startupsandscaleups

english.rvo.nl/subsidies-programmes

What taxes do I have to pay for an incorporated business structure?

Incorporated business structure, including BV, pay corporation tax. If you have a BV, you will have to pay corporation tax and dividend tax. In the event you work as an employee in your own BV, your BV will have to deduct income tax for you and pay this to the Tax Administration.

As the tax system and regulations are complex, and the tax forms are in Dutch, it may be wise to hire a tax consultant or use one of the specialised agencies. Some of them provide services at affordable prices especially to small businesses.

 

What taxes do I have to pay under an unincorporated business structure?

 As a  self-employed entrepreneur you are responsible for your tax affairs. It is important to know all about the taxes that have to be paid and deductions and exemptions that may apply.

You should set up your business accounts on time. Business owners in the Netherlands have an obligation to keep business records for up to seven years. They include records of invoices, invoices to pay, expenses connected with business activities, income and private use of goods and services. It is important to note that you are not required to hire an accountant. However it may be wise to do so as the Dutch the tax system and regulations are complex.

The legal forms that falls under this business structure are Eenmanszaak, General partnership (VOF), Limited partnership (CV) and Professional partnership (Maatschap). These are the taxes that will need to be paid every year:

  • VAT – Value-added tax or sales tax (BTW)
  • Income tax (Inkomstenbelasting)
  • Payroll tax (Loonheffing)

 VAT

It is compulsory for businesses to charge VAT (BTW) when invoicing their clients. There are exceptions. If you teach educational courses or provide educational training, you may be VAT-exempted for these activities. Services rendered by journalists, composers and authors are also VAT-exempt, just like medical services and products.

If the  “Small-sized entrepreneurs regulation”  (Kleine ondernemersregeling) applies in your situation, you will pay less VAT or no VAT at all.

For better understanding see:

www.belastingdienst.nl/wps/wcm/connect/bldcontenten/belastingdienst/business/vat/

 Income tax

The profit made in unincorporated business structures is taxed as income tax.  Each partner of a partnership will pay her/his own income tax on his/her profit share.

Entrepreneurs, recognised as such by the Tax Authority, are entitled to special tax allowances and will then pay less income tax, some of which are:

  • Entrepreneurs allowance (zelfstandigenaftrek)
  • Starters allowance (startersaftrek)
  • Small-scale investment allowance (kleinschaligheidsinvesteringsaftrek)
  • Tax-deferred retirement allowance (oudedagsreserve)

The criteria and standards to be met are explained at (in Dutch only):

www.belastingdienst.nl/wps/wcm/connect/nl/startende-ondernemer/startendeondernemer?ns_campaign=zzpstarters2017&ns_mchannel=&ns_source=google_adwords&ns_linkname=aftrekposten

Payroll tax

If you employ staff, as the employer, you will have to deduct payroll tax at the source and pay to the Tax Administration. The payroll taxes are composed of the: wage tax, national insurance contributions, employed persons’ insurance scheme contribution and income-dependent Care Insurance Act contribution.

For more details about taxes see (pp. 27-30):

www.kvk.nl/download/KvK_Brochure_SYOB-engels_tcm109-400541.pdf

Are there any entities that can give support for starting a business?

There are many forms of support in The Netherlands for starters in business – from official state organs and bodies, public and private institutions and organisations to various business networks.

For accurate and up to date information it is advisable to first refer to the proper governmental authorities and the Chamber of Commerce. They are equipped and ready to provide information and counsel on all aspects of setting up a business.  You can also always go to the business desk in the town hall of the larger Dutch cities.

The most relevant basic information can be found on their websites:

business.gov.nl/guides-for-doing-business/starting-a-business-or-carrying-out-an-assignment/general-guide-for-starting-a-business-in-the-netherlands/

www.kvk.nl/download/KvK_Brochure_SYOB-engels_tcm109-400541.pdf

The Chamber of Commerce (KvK) has an English language section on its website which provides comprehensive information about setting up and developing a business in the Netherlands. You can also take advantage of the KvK’s Starter Centre to speak with a free advisor. The KvK organises workshops for starters. Information can be found on their website (in Dutch only): www.kvk.nl/evenementen/

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) helps start-ups with grants, finding business partners, know-how and compliance with laws and regulations. You find an overview on: english.rvo.nl/topics/startupsandscaleups

The Startup Officers Network comprises officers who work for ministries, large municipalities, provinces and other government organisations and who serve as points of access for start-ups who want to cooperate with the government.

See: www.startupdelta.org/startup-officers/

For information on the Dutch government particular focus on support for innovating and ambitious businesses see:

www.government.nl/topics/enterprise-and-innovation/the-government-supports-entrepreneurs

www.government.nl/topics/enterprise-and-innovation/supporting-ambitious-entrepreneurs-and-startups