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Government support for entrepreneurs

Rules and regulations for self-employed professionals

This information is provided by: Netherlands Enterprise Agency

A self-employed professional or freelancer (known in Dutch as zelfstandige zonder personeel, ZZP'er) is an entrepreneur without any staff who works for a number of different customers. They work at their own expense and risk. During illness or when business is slow, they cannot fall back on a benefit. However, they can make use of various schemes intended to stimulate entrepreneurship. Self-employed professional is not a legal form. Most self-employed professionals have a one-man business or a private limited company (Besloten Vennootschap, BV).

As a self-employed professional, you can start a business in the Netherlands or 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 self-employed professionals.

Guides

Guide for starting a business in the Netherlands

Guide for self-employed professionals and other entrepreneurs who wish to start a business in the Netherlands.

Guide for carrying out a temporary assignment in the Netherlands

Guide for self-employed professionals with a business outside the Netherlands who wish to carry out a temporary assignment in the Netherlands.

Guide for starting up as a self-employed entrepreneur in the health care sector

Guide 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.

Rules and regulations

Self-employed professionals: turnover and income tax

Just like other entrepreneurs, 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.

Model agreements

For clients of 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.

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.

Working conditions

Self-employed professionals have to observe most parts of the Working Conditions Act (Arbowet) and the Working Conditions Regulation (Arboregeling).

Legal form

'Zzp'er' is not a legal form. Self-employed professionals often opt for the legal form of a one-man business (eenmanszaak) or that of a private limited company (besloten vennootschap, BV).

Insurance

You can take out voluntary insurance with the UWV. In that case, you will receive a benefit if, for example, you become ill or unfit for work. You can also take out voluntary insurance against a number of other business risks.

Professional qualifications

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.

Taxes

Turnover tax (VAT) for businesses in the Netherlands

If you are based in the Netherlands as a self-employed professional, you nearly always have to pay turnover tax (VAT). Some services are exempt from VAT.

Turnover tax (VAT) for businesses outside of the Netherlands

If you carry out a temporary assignment in the Netherlands as a 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 and health care insurance premium

Self-employed professionals in the Netherlands must pay income tax and health care insurance premiums.

This information is provided by:

Netherlands Enterprise Agency

Any further questions?

Netherlands Enterprise Agency +31 (0)88 602 44 44