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. It is suggested to consult an expert in this.

For more information on the conditions  please see:




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:

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.


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. More  of  the information about the requirements from the the Chamber of Commerce (KvK) to register as an entrepreneur are available on the website of the government.

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. A checklist of what you need to do when starting your own business is available on

You should register with the Chamber of Commerce:

  • No later than one week after starting your business; OR
  • One week prior to starting your business; OR
  • 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.

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 usually issued by the municipality or the provincial authorities.

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..

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.

You can have your foreign credentials evaluated by IDW (International Credential Evaluation)



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?

If you are from a non EU/EEA country, you need to qualify for a two-year residence permit as a self-employed entrepreneur.

That is assessed by the IND upon advice of The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), a part of Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. The requirements differ per country of origin, but generally they depend on :

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

You can find more detailed information on the website of the IND

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.

You have to settle your debts, follow the rules on dismissal if you have employees and you will have to file a final tax return.

  • Debtors can be granted a six month statutory grace period for paying back their debt. This has to be done by the court.  Keep in mind that the court doesn’t always grant this. During that time creditors cannot claim any money or confiscate any goods. If you cannot to pay your debts any more and you have an Eenmanszaak or are partner in a partnership , 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:
  • 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

You have to report the end of your business 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.  For more detailed information about closing your business check the website of the KvK.

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:


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 might be allowed  to bring this enterprise to the Netherlands and have it registered at the Chamber of Commerce as a Dutch eenmanszaak. More information is available on the website of the Dutch government  

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 over a certain age (depending on your birth date) 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:

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:




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.

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:

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.  These banks often also offer insurance (liability, personnel, disability  etc.).

More information on how to open a bank account here.


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:

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:

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.

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency ( RVO) provides personal advice and assistance to business owners about relevant subsidies, tax benefits, partners, knowledge and legislation.

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.

You can find more information about taxes on the website of the Dutch government.


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 we suggest to first contact the proper governmental authorities and the Chamber of Commerce. They 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:

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 Advice Team to speak with a free advisor.

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) helps start-ups with grants, finding business partners, know-how and compliance with laws and regulations.

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.

For information on the Dutch government supports for innovating and ambitious businesses see: