Not yet 18? An underage entrepreneur needs permission for everything
The Dutch Civil Code (het Burgerlijk Wetboek) says that a minor may only perform legal actions with written permission from legal representatives. So, your parents or guardian. You are ‘legally incapable’ (handelingsonbekwaam).
16 or 17 years old? Apply for limited legal capacity
With limited legal capacity, you become partly ‘legally capable’. The court will give you the powers of an adult. Actions that fall under the limited legal capacity cannot be touched. Your parents or guardian cannot reverse or cancel them.
The limited legal capacity only applies to actions for your company. It does not apply to private transactions. Until you turn 18, you still need permission from your parents or guardian for those.
Why apply for limited legal capacity?
Without limited legal capacity, you must request permission from your parents or guardian for every legal action. If you do, they can undo your actions up to 3 years later.
These are actions that are less common for someone your age, such as:
- registering with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK
- buying company assets, such as a computer or machines
- taking out a subscription
- borrowing money from the bank
- hiring staff
- entering into purchasing contracts
- rent storage space
With limited legal capacity, you can perform these legal actions without permission. This also means that you are responsible and liable for any consequences.
What is allowed with limited legal capacity?
In principle, with limited legal capacity, you can do anything that another entrepreneur can do. But the court, your parents or guardian, and you can also opt for so-called restrictive provisions. For example, a maximum amount with which you may act independently. You also may not own registered property or securities, or take out a mortgage. You must be of actual legal age to do this.
How do you request limited legal capacity?
If you are 16 or 17 years old, you can submit a request to the court in your region. Your parents or guardians need to give permission. Your request must include:
- your name
- the name and signature of your parents or guardian
- a copy of your birth certificate
- the reason for the request
- the powers you want
Limited legal capacity is an official decision of a judge. These are always published in 2 daily newspapers and in the Government Gazette (Staatscourant). You pay the costs of these publications and the costs of the court. This differs per region and daily newspaper. The costs are between €1,000 and €1,500.
After the court approves your request, you will receive an official copy of your limited legal capacity from the court. You can show this to your trading partners as proof of your legal capacity.
Limited legal capacity costs are deductible when making a profit
All costs you incur in the start-up phase (in Dutch) are deductible. But only in the first year in which you file an income tax return for your company. You must be able to show that you incurred the costs to start your business. This is clearly the case with limited legal capacity. You can only deduct the costs for the limited legal capacity request if your company makes a profit.