VAT rates and exemptions

Published by:
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, RVO
5 min read

The Dutch VAT regime (btw, omzetbelasting) has 3 rates : 0%, 9% and 21%. In some instances businesses are exempt from VAT and in some cases there are special arrangements regarding VAT.

VAT rates

0% rate

If you are based in the Netherlands and you do business in other countries, the 0% VAT rate may apply. The 0% rate also applies to services related to cross-border transactions. For instance to services for the international carriage of goods. Or work on goods, such as repairs, that are exported to non-EU countries. The 0% rate applies to the international air or water transport of passengers as well.

9% rate

The 9% rate, or low tariff, applies to a number of products and services, such as food products, medicines, books (also e-books), newspapers, magazines, online publications, and paint and plaster work on homes.

21 % rate

The 21 % rate is also called the general tariff. This is the most common rate. The 21 % applies to all other products and services, unless there is a reason for exemption or reverse charging VAT.

View the extensive Dutch-language list of goods and services for which the different tariffs apply.

Businesses in certain sectors and businesses that perform certain activities are exempt from VAT. This means that their customers pay no VAT. The following activities are some of those exempt from charging VAT:

If you supply telecommunications, broadcasting and e-services, the place of supply determines where VAT will be charged and paid.

  • If your customer is a business that is not established in the Netherlands, but within the EU: your customer will be charged and pay VAT in their own country.
  • If your customer belongs to a non-EU country: you do not pay EU VAT at all.
  • If your customer is a business that is not established in the Netherlands, but within the EU: your customer will be charged and pay VAT in their own country.
  • If your customer belongs to a non-EU country: you do not pay EU VAT at all.

Is your company (only) established in the Netherlands? And do you expect your turnover from another EU member state on digital services and distance sales will be less than €10,000 per year? You can choose 1 of 2 options:

  • Option 1: you calculate the Dutch VAT and pay it in the Netherlands. Do you exceed the €10,000 threshold? From then on, you should calculate the VAT that applies in your customer’s (EU) country.
  • Option 2: you can choose to not use the €10,000 threshold. In that case all your distance sales and digital services will be taxed in your customer’s EU country. You can specify this in the Dutch-language form Melding keuze plaats van prestatie digitale diensten en afstandsverkopen (Notification choice of provision of digital services and distance sales).

To make sure you will not have to register with tax administrations in all countries you supply to, you can use the One Stop Shop (OSS). With the OSS you can comply with all your VAT notifications and payments on your supplies in all EU countries in one go. You can use the OSS for services you supply to consumers within the EU as well. You can also consult the Dutch Tax and Customs Adminstration's website (in Dutch) for more information.

Medical consultations which focus on healthcare for individuals are exempted from VAT. This applies to doctors, paramedics, psychologists, dentists and care homes, for example. The exemption applies to professions that fall under the Individual Health Care Professions Act (Wet op de Beroepen in de Individuele Gezondheidszorg, BIG). The exemption is only applicable to services in the area of expertise of these professions. However, if you operate a temporary work agency that provides health care professionals to their clients, you do have to charge VAT (21%). This also applies to personnel that is registered in the BIG register. View all exemptions and the requirements (in Dutch).

If you provide home care services under Social Support act (Wet maatschappelijke ondersteuning, Wmo) or the Long-term Care Act (Wet langdurige zorg, Wlz) a number of these services may be exempt from VAT. If you operate a private care home, hospital, or other care institution you may also be exempt from VAT (in Dutch). View all exemptions and the requirements (in Dutch).

Registered childcare centres and childminding services are exempt from VAT. If you provide intermediary services these may be exempt as well.

Education is exempt from VAT. This applies to legally regulated education as well as general, vocational, and arts education. It makes no difference if you are an independent entrepreneur.

Services from not-for-profit sports organisations and clubs are mostly exempt from VAT. The service has to be related to the practice of sports or physical exercise.

Watersports clubs are, if they are a not-for-profit association, exempt from paying VAT over moorings for rowing, sailing and powerboats. However, VAT is due on moorings for recreational motorboats.

The leasing of berths for houseboats is exempt from VAT.

The letting or selling of immovable property which is over 2 years old is exempt from VAT. However, there are some specific rules and exceptions to the letting and to the selling. You can also choose not to apply the exemption.

Do you offer financial services or insurances? In general, these are exempt from VAT. If you offer exempted financial services or insurances to customers outside the EU, you can deduct the VAT as pre-tax.

Fund-raising activities for care organisations, youth organisations, sports organisations, educational organisations, collective interest organisations (such as charities, religious organisations and employee organisations) and social and cultural institutions are exempt from VAT. There is a limit to the amount these organisations can raise.

See the website of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst) for a full list of tax exemptions (in Dutch).

Tax-free shopping

Do you sell goods to non-EU residents who want to shop tax-free (in Dutch)? First of all, you need to establish that they live outside the EU by checking their passport or ID. Making a copy of the customer's passport is allowed only when you cover the passport photo and the citizen service number (BSN). Another condition is that the goods leave the EU. You do charge the VAT, but you can return it to your customer later on. You supply your customer with an invoice (on which you state the customer’s ID number) that they need to have signed for export by customs. After that they send the invoice back to you and you can refund them the VAT.

Special VAT arrangements

There are also a number of special VAT arrangements (in Dutch), including:

If you deal in used goods you might be eligible for this arrangement (in Dutch). If so, you only have to pay VAT on the difference between the sale price and the purchase price: the profit margin.

If you work in the travel industry your services might be eligible for the travel agency arrangement (in Dutch). In that case you pay VAT on the profit margin for travel services, instead of on the total price.

Do you sell or accept vouchers, gift cards, or (savings) stamps? Then special VAT arrangements apply (in Dutch).

Under the reverse-charge arrangement, you do not charge VAT. You reverse-charge it to your buyer.

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