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When you own a business in the Netherlands and you are no longer able to pay off your debts, you can petition the court (in Dutch) to be declared bankrupt. To do so, you must use a special form (in Dutch). You can do this for yourself or for the company you represent. Whether or not you will be declared personally bankrupt depends on your legal structure.
Insolvency and directors' and officers' liability
If you are a director or officer of a public (NV) or private limited company (BV) that is no longer able to pay certain taxes or employee or pension contributions (insolvency), you should report this immediately to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV, in Dutch) or your pension fund. If you fail to do so, you may be held personally liable, and your private assets may be seized.
If one of the company directors has committed bankruptcy fraud, he/she can be banned from acting as a director for a period of up to 5 years. During that time he/she cannot act as a director for a legal entity.
What happens after you have been declared bankrupt?
If the court declares you or your company bankrupt, they will appoint an official receiver. This is the only person who is allowed to manage your company from the day that you have been declared bankrupt. He/she decides on the order in which your creditors will be repaid.
If you want to start again as entrepreneur, but you still have unpaid debts or accounts, then be aware you will still have to pay these debts or bills to your creditors, for example to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.
Your customer's bankruptcy
If one of your customers has gone bankrupt and still owes you money, their receiver will send you a letter about their bankruptcy. If you have not received this letter, make sure to contact them yourself. During a meeting, when the receiver will discuss all outstanding accounts, you may clarify your claim.
Central Insolvency Register
All bankruptcies, suspension of payments and debts managements of natural persons are listed on the Netherlands Judiciary website (Rechtspraak.nl). This is called the Central Insolvency Register (in Dutch).
Number of bankruptcies.