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Liability for VAT (turnover tax) and payroll tax

This information is provided by: Netherlands Enterprise Agency

If you run a company in the Netherlands and you need temporary staff, you can hire them via an intermediary such as a temporary employment or secondment agency. You can also subcontract work to a contractor/subcontractor. In both cases the intermediary or contractor/subcontractor must pay the payroll tax for these temporary staff. If this company fails to do so, the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst) may hold you liable. If you hire staff via an intermediary, they may also hold you liable for the turnover tax owed by this intermediary on the work carried out.

Preventing liability

You can prevent any liability by complying with the following conditions, among other things:

All conditions are set out in the (Dutch-language) brochure Liability for payroll tax and VAT when hiring in staffExternal link (Aansprakelijkheid voor loonheffingen en btw bij inlening van personeel) from the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.

Limiting liability

  • You ask your intermediary or (sub)contractor for a payment history reportExternal link from the Tax and Customs Administration. This report will show whether your intermediary or (sub)contractor had paid his payroll tax at the time when the report was compiled.
  • You include a perpetual clause in the contract with your (sub)contractor. This states that he may not contract out the work without your permission.
  • You keep proper records, including records of the wages paid to your staff. If you are still held liable by the Tax and Customs Administration, they can more accurately fix the amount that you owe in payroll tax, so as you do not pay too much.

Please note: The 2015 Act on Combating Sham Arrangements (Wet aanpak schijnconstructies, WAS) has introduced several changes to your liability for paying wages and payroll tax, in order to combat sham arrangements and reducing the risk of unfair competition on the Dutch labour market. Basically this means your liability has increased when hiring staff via an intermediary, secondment bureau or (sub)contracting.

This information is provided by:

Netherlands Enterprise Agency