Importing services

Published by:
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK
Statistics Netherlands, CBS
Statistics Netherlands, CBS
3 min read

When you import services from abroad, the service provider will most likely reverse-charge VAT to you. If a person comes over to the Netherlands to provide the service, make sure they have the right qualifications and – in the case of a non-EU national – permits. If you take them on as an employee, different rules apply than if you don’t.

You are usually the one to declare VAT

The service supplier usually reverse-charges the VAT to you and sends you an invoice stating this. You will then have to calculate the VAT yourself, and declare it in your VAT return.

Are you allowed to deduct the VAT on your business expenses (in Dutch)? Then you can deduct the VAT you pay from your VAT return as input tax. You will effectively have paid no VAT.

Claiming a refund of foreign VAT

If the supplier is not allowed to reverse-charge VAT to you, you will pay the foreign VAT rate. If your supplier is located in the EU, you can often claim a VAT refund from the Dutch Tax Administration. If your supplier is located outside the EU, you can consult with the foreign tax authority to ask about any VAT refund options.

Is your service supplier situated in an EU country? Then read more about VAT on services from other EU countries.

Check: Employee or self-employed professional?

If a person performs the service for you, they 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 follow different rules. If you use a model agreement (in Dutch) you avoid having to pay payroll taxes later on.

Also check out whether you need to apply for a work permit or your employee or freelancer (in Dutch).

If you hire a self-employed artist, you may have to use the artist provision (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). In most cases, they will not need a short-stay visa. You, as the client, may have to act as a guarantor for the person coming over. If the stay is longer than 3 months, a residence permit (preceded by a temporary one, an MVV in Dutch) is required.

A service provider who starts in your employment does require a work permit (TWV) 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 3 months, they will require a single permit (residence and work, GVVA in Dutch) from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND).

See also: questions and answers on types of documents for aliens

Importing personal care

Personal 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.

Statistics: import of services

Import value of total services from all countries.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact theNetherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK