Providing services inside the EU

This information is provided by

Tax and Customs Administration, Belastingdienst | Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK | Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO

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In the EU, there is free movement of services. This means you can deliver services to corporate clients in other EU countries. You will usually be able to reverse-charge VAT to your client abroad. You might need to draw up your invoice slightly differently than usual. Make sure to check the laws and regulations in the other country and inquire into local customs.

Use the Tax Administration's VAT tool

Finding out how and where to pay VAT on services rendered inside the EU is not always easy. The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration has developed a tool to help you. The calculation tool Diensten in en uit het buitenland (Services to and from foreign countries) is only available in Dutch. If you cannot use it, you can contact the Tax Information Line.

Check who should pay and declare VAT

Delivering services to business clients

In most cases, you reverse-charge VAT to your client in the EU, stating 'VAT reverse-charged' (btw verlegd) on your invoice. Your client will then pay VAT in their own country. But you cannot always reverse-charge VAT.

Examples of services where you cannot reverse-charge VAT are:

  • restaurant or catering services;
  • immovable property services;
  • transport vehicle rental services;
  • transport of persons;
  • providing access to a cultural or sporting event.

Sometimes you will have to file a VAT return in your client's country. Use the calculation tool Diensten in en uit het buitenland (Services to and from foreign countries) or contact the tax authorities in the other country to determine what you have to do. An overview of tax authorities in EU countries can be found on the website of the European Commission.

Delivering services to private individuals

Do you provide services to a private individual? Then you will usually have to charge Dutch VAT. For some services, other rules apply. Use the Diensten in en uit het buitenland (in Dutch) tool to determine who pays VAT. This will also show you what to include on the invoice.

Do you still have to pay VAT in another EU country? You can make use of the Union scheme. In that case, you will arrange your VAT returns within the EU on a quarterly basis through the one-stop shop (OSS). This allows you to avoid having to arrange your VAT returns separately in each EU country. Read on Belastingdienst.nl how to file your VAT return for services to private individuals within the EU.

Check your customer’s VAT ID number

It is important to know that your customer is an entrepreneur. Especially if you reverse-charge VAT. If it turns out your customer is not an entrepreneur, you may have to pay the VAT. You will then receive an additional assessment. Entrepreneurs have a VAT ID number. Check whether your customer’s VAT number is correct on the website of the European Commission.

Find out if you need to file an ICP declaration

Services provided inside the EU are called intra-community services. If you are a resident of the Netherlands, you will have to file these services in the Intra-Community transactions declaration (ICP) and also include them in your VAT return. In the declaration, you list services which:

  • you provide to an entrepreneur in another EU country;
  • are taxed in the entrepreneur’s country of residence.
Use the Diensten in en uit het buitenland tool to determine whether or not you need to file an ICP declaration.

Take local legislation into account

You will have to deal with local laws and customs in the country where you provde your services. Make sure you are well-prepared. On the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) website, you can find information on a large number of countries. There is information on subsidies, do's and don'ts, laws and regulation, and sectors. They also have a tool, available in Dutch only: the exportwijzer.

EU Point of Single Contact websites (PSCs)

Point of Single Contact websites are online governmental information portals that can help you find out about rules and regulations, formalities, and guidelines for providing services or establishing a business in an EU country. For example, the PSC for the Netherlands is business.gov.nl. The network is part of the Single Digital Gateway offered by the EU. The PSCs can point you towards the right institutions to deal with administrative procedures.

Tip: free movement inside the EU

Within the EU, you do not need any special documents to travel and provide services. You must always be able to prove who you are with proof of identity.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Tax and Customs Administration, Belastingdienst

This information is provided by

Tax and Customs Administration, Belastingdienst
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVO