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If you run a business in the Netherlands or if you run a foreign company with a Dutch branch, you may have to pay turnover tax (VAT) in the Netherlands. This also applies if your company is established abroad, but does business in the Netherlands. In all cases you need a VAT number, also known as VAT identification number (btw-nummer or btw-identificatie nummer).
Receiving a VAT number
If you set up a business in the Netherlands, you must have it registered with the Dutch Commercial Register of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KVK). If you do so with all te relevant information for the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration, KVK will immediately issue your VAT number. The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration will confirm this number in writing. If you have registered without providing all relevant details, The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration will first assess if you are an entrepreneur for VAT purposes. They will then usually send you your VAT number within 5 working days.
If your company is established abroad, but provides services in the Netherlands or supplies goods to Dutch-based companies, you need to register directly with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration to receive your VAT number.
VAT number format
A VAT number has 14 characters, consisting of the NL country code, followed by either the Legal Entities and Partnerships Information Number (RSIN), or your Citizen Service Number (BSN) and supplemented with a code comprising three characters between B01 and B99. Your invoices must clearly display your VAT number. The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration states your VAT number on any letters and forms they send to you.
Validity check client's VAT number
If you want to check the validity of your Dutch client's VAT number, or a client who has their registered office in another EU country, you can use the European Commission's VIES VAT number validation (VAT Information Exchange System). With VIES, you can also check name and address of clients from most Member States.
If you want to find out some company's VAT number, you should contact that company in order to receive this number directly from them.
VAT number deregistration
If you deregister your company with KVK, deregistration with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration database follows automatically. Your VAT number will then be deregistered, of which you will receive a written confirmation.