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How do you start a business in the Netherlands? Which Dutch taxes do I have to pay? This page offers the replies and links to these, and other frequently asked questions.

Business.gov.nl is the EU Point of Single Contact (PSC) website for foreign entrepreneurs who want to start a business in, or do business with the Netherlands. Business.gov.nl is the official Dutch government website for general information about doing business in the Netherlands: laws, rules, regulations, subsidies, and more. For specific information, e.g. procedures and applications, we connect you to our partners. Together we offer a single unified answer from the Dutch public sector about doing business in the Netherlands. The website aims to inform EU entrepreneurs, but also entrepreneurs from other countries. We have produced a short animated video that explains what Business.gov.nl can do for you.

Every business needs to choose a business structure upon registration. It is not possible to register as a freelancer or zzp'er, as these are not legal business structures – sole proprietorship is the most obvious choice, but private limited company is also an option. You can also opt to start a cooperative together with a group of other zzp’ers; that way, you’ll have the protection of a legal entity, with the benefits of a sole proprietorship. Be aware that the cooperative will have to pay corporate tax over profits made. You register your company at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK. The KVK will pass on your details to the Netherlands Tax Administration. Within two weeks you will receive your VAT identification number from the Tax Administration by post.

If you want to set up a business, but you are in two minds about which legal structure to choose, use our Tool for choosing a Dutch legal structure. It will guide you through some of the main considerations, such as liability, staff and taxes, and give you advice suited to your needs and wishes.

On our website we provide general and sector-specific checklists for entrepreneurs who want to start a business in the Netherlands. You can also watch our webinar Starting a business in the Netherlands in which we answer questions like:

  • When do I need a visa or permit, and how can I get one?
  • What do I need to start a business in the Netherlands?
  • How do I register my business at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce?
  • What taxes do I have to pay in the Netherlands?

There are many organisations and institutions that help entrepreneurs grow their business in the Netherlands. For example, the Chamber of Commerce provides expert advice and support to businesses. As an innovative startup, you can also get advice from mentors or coaches. If you want information about financing your business, you can watch our webinar Financing your business in the Netherlands, in which we discuss topics such as:

If you want to come to the Netherlands as an entrepreneur or self-employed professional, you need to make sure you have the correct permits and/or visa and that you meet all of the conditions. Use our interactive tool Coming to the Netherlands as an entrepreneur to find more information on the rules and regulations that may be applicable to your situation.

Not all external websites and documents that we link to on Business.gov.nl are (fully) translated into English. And although we try to provide information in English that is up-to-date and accessible to all our visitors, we cannot translate everything ourselves. Contact the organisation that has published the information for help. The contact information for the organisation responsible for the article is on the top right hand side of the page. Alternatively, you can try using an online translation tool or translation software.

On our page Paying taxes in the Netherlands you can find general information on Dutch business taxes that you may have to deal with when running a business in the Netherlands. You can find more detailed information in our Business tax issues section.

To work in the Netherlands as a highly skilled migrant, you need to fulfil a number of criteria. Contrary to what you might expect, having a university or other type of degree is not one of them. You have to:

  • find an employer in the Netherlands who is a recognised sponsor;
  • fulfil a minimum income requirement;
  • agree upon a salary that is in line with market conditions.

Additional conditions may apply, for instance if you are a doctor, or if you have an employment contact with a company outside the EU. Read more about the application process for a highly skilled migrant on the Dutch Immigration and Naturalisation (IND) website.

Every business in the Netherlands has either a VAT number or a VAT ID plus a VAT number. Neither the tax administration nor KVK gives out information about VAT numbers. If you want to verify the validity of a client's VAT identification number, you can use the European Commission's VIES VAT number validation (VAT Information Exchange System, VIES). Verifying VAT numbers with VIES can be complicated. Read the 'how to' on kvk.nl/en.

You can often find your customer’s VAT ID on their quotes or invoices. If you cannot find it there, ask the company what their VAT number is. There is no reason why they would not give it to you, unless they do not have one.

The Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK manages the Business Register (Handelsregister), in which you can look up a company's details. To search the Business Register, fill in the name of the business you are looking for in the frame underneath 'Zoeken' that says 'Zoek op bedrijf, KVK-nummer of trefwoord', and press enter. All entries of companies bearing the name you entered will appear.

You can also order several products from the Business Register, such as extracts and financial statements. Go to the website of the KVK to find and order several products.

The page Repaying corona support will point you towards the information on paying taxes and repaying support money received under the NOW, Tozo, TVl, and other measures.

On our Contact page you can find a list of organisations that you can contact in case you have any further questions. If you have any comments or questions about our website, you can send us an email at editor@business.gov.nl. We do not reply to any business inquiries or questions regarding business advice or procedures.