In the Netherlands, there are several numbers you will most likely encounter when running a business:
- KVK number
- BTW number and BTW-id
When you register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (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 BTW number for VAT purposes. Sole proprietors and partnerships also receive a BTW-id, 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. Note: freelancer and zzp'er are not legal structures in the Netherlands. Most freelancers and zzp'ers who register at the KVK, do so as a sole trader.
When you register at KVK, you and the person handling your registration will discuss your business activities. Based on this information, you will be given an SBI code.
What is a LEI?
LEI stands for Legal Entity Identifier. It is a unique number that the Dutch Financial Authority AFM uses to trace global transactions.
Who needs a LEI?
Companies that are legal entities (for instance private or public limited companies) are required to have a LEI if:
- they trade shares (including their own) or derivatives on the stock exchange;
- the company is a foreign legal entity, but registered in the Handelsregister, the Dutch Business Register (f.i. a branch) and trades on the stock exchange.
If you are not sure whether you need a LEI or not, consult your bank or asset manager.
Find more information on the LEI on the KVK website.
How do I get a LEI?
You can purchase your Legal Entity Identifier at KVK. The LEI remains valid for 1 year. After the initial year, you pay a yearly fee for renewing your LEI.
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 (Belastingdienst) 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 BTW-nummer or BTW-id?
The BTW-nummer is the VAT, or turnover tax number. You need it for filing your VAT return and paying VAT in the Netherlands. You receive a VAT number automatically 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 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 check whether a VAT number you have been given by a supplier exists, or to read more about VAT numbers, read the article Using and checking VAT numbers.
Find your VAT number
If you do not know what your organisation’s VAT number is, you can find it on Mijn Belastingdienst Zakelijk (My professional Tax Administration). After logging in with DigiD or eHerkenning, you will see your VAT number.
When do I get a BTW-id (VAT identification number)?
All Dutch businesses that are not legal entities, so sole proprietorships and partnerships, like vofs and maatschappen, will use two VAT numbers, the VAT-id and the VAT tax number. The VAT identification number is used for all transactions with suppliers and clients; for instance, on your invoices, quotations, and your website. The VAT tax number is used for all correspondence with the Dutch Tax Administration. If you register your sole proprietorship or partnership in the Netherlands, you will receive your VAT identification number together with your VAT tax number from the Tax Administration.
What is a KVK number or HR number?
When you register with KVK, you are listed in the Dutch Business Register (Handelsregister). 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 Business Register. Read more about the Business Register.