1. Keep the required records
All your company details, both on paper and digital, are part of your records. Examples are:
- cash administration (including draft notes) and receipts
- financial notes, such as the purchase and sales ledger
- interim check calculations
- received invoices and copies of sent invoices
- bank statements
- contracts, agreements, and other deals
- agendas and other appointment books
- software and data files
Consider a business bank account
You do not have to open a business bank account, but it makes sense. In any case, keep your private administration and business administration separated.
2. Keep your records for seven years
You are legally required to keep your administration for seven years. You can make agreements with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst) about shorter terms.
You have to keep these documents for seven years:
- debtor and creditor administration: unpaid invoices of clients and suppliers
- administration of purchases and sales: all invoices of purchases and sales
- general ledger administration: all financial transactions such as received payments
- inventory administration: your entire inventory and its’ value (if you purchase and sell goods)
- cash administration: all receipts of products that you have bought or sold with cash
You must keep data on real estate and rights on real estate for ten years. Examples of real estate are business premises, storage facilities, and land. When you sell your goods or services inside the EU to clients who do not file taxes and you have chosen for the One Stop Shop (éénloketsysteem) (in Dutch), then the term is ten years as well.
3. Make agreements on how to keep your records
You can make agreements with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration on how to keep your administration (digitally or on paper). And in how much detail (for example daily transaction lists, counting strips of the cash register). The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration documents these agreements in writing.
4. Pay attention to the hours criterion
You do not have to keep a record of your hours. But if you want to receive tax benefits, you need to prove you are eligible to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. For example, for the private business ownership allowance or the tax relief for new companies scheme. You need to show that you comply with the hours criterion:
- You work in your business for at least 1225 hours per calendar year. This also applies if you start or end the company during the year.
- You devote more time to your business than to other work. For example, when you also have a job. Did you not have a business for one or more years during the past five years? Then this criterion does not apply.
Good start Dutch Tax and Customs Administration
The ‘Goede start belastingdienst’ website (in Dutch) tells you how to file returns and gives information on other tax- related matters. You also get tips on how to structure your records. And you get information about fiscal matters for starters. The live chat (in Dutch) allows you to ask an expert live questions. You can use English language.
5. Do it yourself or outsource it?
You can do the administration yourself or outsource it to a bookkeeper or accountant.
Difference accountant and bookkeeper
An accountant usually works for larger companies, but also for SMEs and self-employed professionals (zzp’ers). An accountant is obligated to take out liability insurance and is subject to disciplinary law. If you have more than 50 employees, a turnover of €12 million euros, and €6 million euros as balance sheet total, you must hire an accountant.
The SMEs and zzp’ers that are not included in this group can choose to hire an administrative office. This independent profession has 2 types:
1. Offices that are members of a trade association
These offices have a mandatory liability insurance, comply with training requirements, follow compulsory retraining, and have terms of delivery and payment. They help entrepreneurs with business administration and give advice.
2. Offices that are not members of a trade association
These offices have no mandatory liability insurance. They decide for themselves whether they only help with the records or if they also give advice.
Video: entrepreneur about his records Watch the kvk video entrepreneur about his administration (For English subtitles, click the settings wheel, click ondertiteling and select English)