When you import services from abroad, the service supplier will most likely reverse-charge VAT to you. If a person comes over to the Netherlands to provide the service, make sure he or she has the right qualifications and – in the case of a non-EU national - permits. If you take him or her on as an employee, different rules apply than if you don’t.
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You usually declare VAT
The service supplier usually reverse-charges the VAT to you and send you an invoice to that effect. You will then have to calculate the VAT yourself, and declare it in your VAT return. If the supplier is not allowed to reverse-charge VAT to you, you will pay the foreign VAT-rate. You can often claim a VAT refund from the Dutch Tax Administration. You can use the Services to and from foreign countries tool (in Dutch) to find out if you or your supplier has to declare VAT.
N.B.: if you operate under the small business scheme in the Netherlands (KOR), you may not have to pay VAT. Nor do you have to pay VAT if the service provided falls under the 0% VAT rate in the Netherlands.
Is your service supplier situated in an EU country? Then read more about VAT on services from other EU countries.
Employee or self-employed professional?If a person performs the service for you, he or she may act as an employee or a self-employed professional / freelancer. In the latter case, you are a client rather than an employer, and will need to abide by different rules. You can use a model agreement (in Dutch) for self-employed professionals to avoid ambiguity as to the status of the person providing the service. If you hire an artist, you may have to use the artist provision (PDF, in Dutch). You will have to pay payroll taxes, but no social insurance premiums.
Non-EU nationals: check permits
A service provider operating as a self-employed professional does not require a work permit (twv in Dutch). He/she does in most cases need a short-stay visa. You, as client, may have to stand guarantor for the person coming over. If the stay is longer than three months, a residence permit (preceded by a temporary one, an mvv in Dutch) is required.
A service provider who enters your employment does require a work permit, or TWV in Dutch, for which you have to apply at the Employment Benefit Agency in Dutch. If the employee is going to stay in the Netherlands for more than three months, he/she will require a single permit (residence and work, GVVA in Dutch) from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service.
Importing personal carePersonal care provided in the Netherlands is subject to Dutch law, no matter who provides it. Service providers must comply with Dutch quality standards, such as having valid qualifications, or (in the case of health professionals) being registered in the BIG-register.
- Draw up a contract to document your agreements. Unless you and your supplier have agreed otherwise, Dutch laws and regulations apply to services rendered in the Netherlands.
- Find out the do’s and don’ts in the country you’re doing business with.
- Make sure you keep your records in order, distinguishing between EU and non-EU business.
Statistics: import of services
Import value of total services from all countries.