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Business owners in the Netherlands must pay a range of taxes, which can include taxes on income, turnover and profit, municipal taxes and environmental taxes. If you own an international business, you may also have to pay import levies. The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst) provides you with detailed information on tax matters.
Numerous tax schemes are available to business owners in the Netherlands, but everyone still needs to pay tax. For example, anyone in business has to file annual tax returns – either income tax (inkomstenbelasting) or corporation tax (vennootschapsbelasting).
Your business will be automatically registered with the Tax and Customs Administration when you list it in the Dutch Commercial Register (Handelsregister) at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel, KvK). It's a mandatory requirement to register your company if it has any form of permanent establishment in the Netherlands. If you represent a foreign company that is not listed in the Dutch Commercial Register, i.e. does not have a permanent establishment, and you perform services on its behalf in the Netherlands, you'll have to register with the Tax and Customs Administration yourself. You'll find 'Foreign Business Aid' registration forms on the Tax and Customs Administration website.
In the section Tax schemes you can find information about allowances, exemptions from premium payments or premium discounts, tax rebates and deductible items.
Most common taxes
Below we've listed the most common taxes you'll have to deal with in the Netherlands.
Turnover Tax / Value Added Tax (VAT)
Value added tax or VAT (BTW) is a form of turnover tax (omzetbelasting) that you add to most – but not all – goods and services your business sells in the Netherlands (0%, 6%, or 21%). You can usually reclaim the VAT that your business pays on the goods and services it purchases. Turnover tax returns can be filed either monthly, quarterly or annually.
If your business is established outside the Netherlands, but trades in the Netherlands, you'll still have to deal with Dutch VAT regulations. The rules that apply to businesses outside the Netherlands differ from the rules applicable to businesses in the Netherlands.
If the Tax and Customs Administration considers you to be in business, you'll have to pay income tax (inkomstenbelasting) on your business profits. The Tax and Customs Administration applies various criteria to determine your exact status, e.g. anticipated profitability, business practices, autonomy, personal risk, etc.
If you own a private or public limited company (besloten vennootschap, BV / naamloze vennootschap, NV), you'll have to file corporate income tax returns on behalf of your company (vennootschapsbelasting). Foundations, charities and associations only have to file corporation tax returns in specific situations. You may be exempt, depending on your profit levels.
As a private or public limited company (besloten vennootschap, BV / naamloze vennootschap, NV) you may decide to distribute profits to your shareholders. This usually takes the form of a dividend. If so, you'll also have to pay dividend tax (dividendbelasting).
If you already own a foreign business and are planning to open a branch in the Netherlands, get in touch with the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA). The NFIA has brochures about the Dutch tax system and has offices located around the world where you can talk to an advisor in person.