Freelancer and self-employed professional without staff (known in Dutch as zelfstandige zonder personeel, zzp'er) are not legal structures. Most freelancers/self-employed professionals register with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK as a sole proprietorship (eenmanszaak) or a private limited company (besloten vennootschap, bv). That is, if they meet the requirements for having a business and have to register with KVK. Find out whether you need to register or not.
As a freelancer/self-employed professional, you can start a business in the Netherlands, or you can carry out a temporary assignment in the Netherlands while being based in another country. In both cases, you will have to deal with Dutch government rules and regulations. Many of them are the same as for other entrepreneurs. Some apply only to freelancers/self-employed professionals. This article offers an overview of the most important guides, regulations and taxes for freelancers/self-employed professionals.
General checklist for starting a business in the Netherlands
Checklist for freelancers/self-employed professionals and other entrepreneurs who wish to start a business in the Netherlands.
Checklist for carrying out a temporary assignment in the Netherlands
Checklist for freelancers/self-employed professionals with a business outside the Netherlands who wish to carry out a temporary assignment in the Netherlands.
Tool for choosing a legal structure
'Freelancer' or 'zzp'er' are not legal structures. Freelancers/self-employed professionals often opt for the legal structure of a sole proprietorship (eenmanszaak) or a private limited company (besloten vennootschap, bv). Which legal structure suits your situation? Find out with our tool.
Checklist for starting as a health care professional
Checklist for independent health care providers who start working in the homecare sector and health care providers who start their own practice, such as dentists and physiotherapists.
Starting as a part-time entrepreneur
For part-time entrepreneurs in the Netherlands the same rules apply as for full-time entrepreneurs. If you start your business in addition to your job, you must discuss your plans with your employer. You may have to deal with a non-compete or a non-solicitation clause.
Starting a business as a minor
In the Netherlands, minors (younger than 18 years of age) who own a business need permission from their parents for legal actions such as making a purchase or borrowing money. If you want to perform legal acts without your parents' permission, you can apply for limited legal capacity.
Professional qualifications and diplomas
You do not require a separate qualification to establish a business in the Netherlands. However, there are various professions which you may only practise if you fulfil certain requirements.
Work permit for self-employed professionals
If you come from outside the EEA/Switzerland, you will normally need a work permit in order to work in the Netherlands. Your customer must apply for the work permit on your behalf.
Model agreements for self-employed professionals
For clients of freelancers/self-employed professionals (zelfstandigen zonder personeel, zzp'ers) in the Netherlands, it is important to know how the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration will assess the exact nature of their business relationship (i.e. an employment relationship or work on a self-employed basis). A model agreement records that relationship.
Working conditions for self-employed professionals
Freelancers/self-employed professionals have to observe most parts of the Working Conditions Act (Arbowet) and the Working Conditions Regulation (Arboregeling).
Besides having to pay VAT and income tax, you may also benefit from several tax schemes for small and starting businesses. Find out which schemes are available in the article Subsidies and tax schemes for self-employed professionals.
VAT (turnover tax) and income tax for self-employed professionals
Just like other entrepreneurs, freelancers/self-employed professionals must register with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst), which determines whether you are an entrepreneur for the purposes of turnover tax and income tax.
VAT (turnover tax) for resident businesses
If you are based in the Netherlands as a freelancer/self-employed professional, you nearly always have to pay turnover tax (VAT). Some services are exempt from VAT.
VAT (turnover tax) for non-resident businesses
If you carry out a temporary assignment in the Netherlands as a freelancer/self-employed professional, you sometimes have to pay VAT as well. You may sometimes be able to claim back VAT that you have paid in the Netherlands.
Income tax (IB) and health care insurance premium (ZVW)
Freelancers/self-employed professionals in the Netherlands must pay income tax and health care insurance premiums.