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Non-resident companies doing business in the Netherlands, may have to file a VAT return (turnover tax, btw) in the Netherlands. If so, they need to register for VAT with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. You can find out if registration in your case is necessary. If so, you must use the Application for VAT identification number for foreign entrepreneurs form (pdf). If your company has its registered office in the Netherlands different rules apply.
VAT and the provision of goods and services in the Netherlands
If you supply goods or services in the Netherlands to a Dutch company or legal entity with its registered office in the Netherlands, you are in principle required to pay Dutch VAT. However, this is often reverse-charged to the Dutch company purchasing the goods or service. In that case you do not include VAT, but state 'VAT reverse-charged' as well as your client’s VAT identification number (btw-id) on your invoice. If you supply goods to private individuals or other foreign entrepreneurs in the Netherlands, you will have to file a VAT return in the Netherlands and pay the received VAT yourself to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.
VAT when purchasing goods in the Netherlands
If you purchase goods from a supplier in the Netherlands and the goods remain in the Netherlands, your supplier will charge you VAT. If you use these goods for commercial purposes, you can include this VAT in your VAT tax return as deductable. To be able to do so, the received invoices must cleary state the amount of VAT paid.
If you purchase goods in the Netherlands and transport them to another EU Member State (e.g. to your own country), it is called intra-Community supply, for which the 0% VAT rate applies. Accordingly, your supplier will not charge you VAT. Instead, the VAT will be charged - and paid by you - in the country of destination of the goods.
If you transport the goods outside of the EU, then this is considered to export. Accordingly, the 0% VAT rate is levied. This rate only applies if your accounts demonstrate that the goods were in fact exported from the EU.
Filing a VAT return
To file a VAT return in the Netherlands, you must be registered with the International Office (Kantoor Buitenland) of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. You will then receive tax return forms periodically on which you can deduct the VAT you have paid. If you supply intra Community goods and services from within the Netherlands, you must submit a Statement of Intra-Community Supplies (Opgaaf intracommunautaire leveringen) at the end of every quarter. You obtain this declaration form from the International Office of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.
How to claim a VAT refund
If you are not liable to file a VAT tax return in the Netherlands, but you want to claim a refund of Dutch VAT, the required course of action depends on the country where your company has its registered office. If your company has its registered office in an EU Member State, you must submit the refund request to the Tax Administration in your own country. To be eligible, you do not have to be registered in the Netherlands. If your company has its registered office in a country outside of the EU, you can submit the refund request in the Netherlands. To be eligible, you must first register with the International Office of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.
The website of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration offers extensive information in English about VAT with respect to the intra-Community supply of goods and services, import, export, immovable property and online services. The site also offers detailed information about VAT rates and the conditions for a VAT refund.