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Government information for entrepreneurs

LEI, RSIN, VAT and KVK number: which is which?

This information is provided by

Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK

When you register with the Chamber of Commerce KVK, you are given a KVK number and (unless you register as a sole proprietor) an RSIN number. You are also issued with a VAT number. And, if your company owns or trades shares or derivatives on the stock exchange, you also need a Legal Entity Identifier, or LEI number. A short explanation of all these numbers is in order.

What is a LEI number?

A LEI, or a Legal Entity Identifier, is a unique number that companies are required to have, if they trade shares (including their own) or derivatives on the stock exchange. If your company is a foreign legal entity, but registered in the Dutch Commercial Register (f.i. a branch), you also need to have a LEI if you sell and buy on the stock exchange. Your LEI number enables the Dutch Financial Authority (AFM) to trace global transactions. You can purchase your Legal Entity Identifier at the Netherlands Chamber of CommerceExternal link.

What is an RSIN number?

The RSIN number (Rechtspersonen en Samenwerkingsverbanden Identificatie Nummer in Dutch) is an identification number for legal entities and partnerships. It is the business equivalent of the Citizen Service Number (or BSN), and is used to link data between basic Dutch government registrations.

If your business is liable for VAT, you will receive a VAT number. The RSIN number makes up a third of this number.

Legal entity or partnership

If your legal structure is a partnership, you receive your RSIN number upon registration with the Chamber of Commerce. You won’t have to register with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration separately.

If you are a legal entity, your RSIN number will also be automatically generated, but you will have to register with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration separately.

If you are a sole proprietor, your citizen service number (BSN) will serve the same purpose as the RSIN number. This has to do with the fact that as a sole proprietor, you are personally liable for all matters concerning your business (debts, assets etc.).

Sole proprietors: VAT number procedure changes as of 1 January 2020

Are you a sole proprietor (eenmanszaak)? In that case, from 1 January 2020 onwards, the Tax and Customs Administration will issue your VAT number when you register at the Chamber of Commerce. When you register with the Commercial Register, the Chamber of Commerce will forward your registration to the Tax Administration, and they will process this to provide you with your VAT number. This may take up to five days. Until 1 January 2020, the Chamber of Commerce will issue you with your VAT number directly when you register your business.

The change in procedure is necessary to protect sole proprietors' privacy; prior to the change, the VAT number was linked to the private citizen service number (BSN). Personal data were freely available in the Commercial Register. The Data Protection Authority (Autoriteit Persoonsbescherming) has ruled that this is a violation of the GDPR. If you were already registered as a sole proprietor with your citizen service number before 1 January 2020, the Tax Administration will issue you with a new VAT number. You don't have to undertake any action.

What is a VAT number?

A VAT number is necessary for filing your VAT return and paying VAT in the Netherlands. You receive a VAT number when you register your business with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerc KVK - that is, if the Dutch Tax Administration deems you to be an entrepreneur for VAT purposes. They take this decision based on the information you rpovide when you register at the KVK. If your business is based abroad, but has to pay VAT in the Netherlands, you need to register with the Dutch Tax Administration. Read more about using and checking VAT numbers.

What is a KVK number or HR number?

When you register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK, you are listed in the Commercial Register or Handelsregister (HR) as it is called in the Netherlands. You are then given your KVK or HR number. This number serves to prove that you are indeed a bona fide, registered business. Other companies you do business with can look up your details in the Commercial Register. Read more about the Commercial RegisterExternal link.

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Startup Information Desk, KVK

This information is provided by

Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, KVK