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In the Netherlands, there are several numbers you may encounter when running a business:
- KVK number
- VAT or VAT-id number
A short explanation of the meanings of, and differences between, these numbers is in order. When you register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel, KVK), you are given a KVK number and (unless you register as a sole proprietor) an RSIN number. The Dutch Tax Administration will provide you with a VAT number. Sole proprietors and partnerships also receive a VAT identification 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.
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 Commerce.
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 Netherlands 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.).
What is a VAT number?The VAT number (BTW-nummer) is the turnover tax identification number. You need it 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 Commerce 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 provide 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. To look up a VAT number, or to read more about VAT numbers, read the article Using and checking VAT numbers.
Sole proprietor or partnership? You also need a VAT identification number
As of 1 January 2020, all Dutch businesses that are not legal entities, so sole proprietorships and partnerships, will use two VAT numbers: their VAT identification number, for all transactions with suppliers and clients; and their VAT tax number, for all correspondence with the Dutch Tax Administration. If you do business with Dutch businesses, be sure to find out if their VAT number has changed to a VAT identification number, and what it is. If your business is based in the Netherlands and has received a VAT identification number, be sure to notify your customers and suppliers in time, and adjust your invoices and website.
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 Register.