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If you have a business in the Netherlands, you are legally obliged to keep records and to retain them for at least 7 years. You must keep data related to immovable property for at least 10 years. The obligation also applies when your business ceases trading within the specified period.
Obligation to keep records
The records form the basis for your tax returns. Some documents are mandatory, such as:
- stock records
- general accounts
- payroll accounts
- purchase and sales records
- credit and debit accounts
- keeping other records for shorter periods
- how you keep your records (on paper or digitally)
- how detailed your administration needs to be
How long to keep records
If you supply electronic services, broadcasting or telecommunications services and you have opted for the Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) scheme, you must also keep the data for 10 years. The MOSS scheme enables companies that provide broadcasting or telecommunication services in several EU countries to declare VAT in only one country: the country where they are registered. The scheme applies to companies based both within and outside of the EU.
Please note that if you stop running your company, you are still required to keep your basic records for the set length of time. Arrangements made with the Tax and Customs Administration to keep records for a shorter period than 7 years, do not apply to other governemental institutions. If you want to digitise your records and use this as sufficient proof of your business activities, contact your local Tax Office (in Dutch).
You may ask your customers for identification, but you may not copy their personal data and keep it in your administration. you may only do so if it is compulsory, such as when you recruit personnel. The Dutch Data Protection Authority (Autoriteit Persoonsgegevens) can provide you with more specific information.