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Government support for entrepreneurs

Are you an entrepreneur?

This information is provided by

Dutch Tax and Customs Administration | Netherlands Chamber of Commerce

You may call yourself a self-employed professional, a freelancer, or a small business owner. But what qualifies you as an entrepreneur in the eyes of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration? What is the difference between being an entrepreneur for income tax and for VAT purposes? And when does the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce regard you as an entrepreneur? None of the abovementioned terms: self-employed professional, freelancer, small business owner, or even entrepreneur, is a legal form. It is important to know if you are considered an entrepreneur or not: you may have obligations, but also be entitled to financial advantages you are not aware of.

Entrepreneur for income tax purposes

When you provide products or services for payment, and can expect to make a profit, you may be an entrepreneur for income tax purposes. You do not qualify as such if you deploy activities as a hobby, or within your family. Once you have filed your tax return, the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration will determine whether your income is ‘profit from business activities’, and you are an entrepreneur. Criteria to determine this are, for instance:
  • independence. Are you in charge of how you arrange your work? Do you determine your prices? Do you use your own materials, tools or equipment?
  • business risk. Are you liable for your business debts? Do you run a financial risk, if your business does not go well?
  • continuïty. Do you invest time and money in the acquisition of new customers? Do you have enough funds to run your business for some time?
  • business size. Do you have multiple clients? What is your average yearly turnover?
Your circumstances determine if you are an entrepreneur for income tax. You might be an entrepreneur one year, and not be one the next. The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration has devised an online tool (in Dutch) to help you find out whether you are likely to be assessed an entrepreneur or not: the OndernemersCheck. When in doubt, consult with a fiscal service provider, or with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.

Different criteria for entrepreneurship and Employment Relations Act (DBA)

You can be an entrepreneur for income tax purposes even though you are under employment for certain assignments. The criteria to determine if you are an entrepreneur for income tax purposes differ from the criteria set for the Employment Relations Act. To determine if you are an entrepreneur for income tax, the entire picture is taken into account: how you work, and all your assignments in a year. The Employment Relation Act (DBA) considers the employment relation between the party giving the assignment and the party executing it. The main question is: is there an employment situation, where the employer has to deduct and pay payroll taxes?

Check if you are eligible for deductions and allowances

If you are an entrepreneur for income tax purposes, you can use special arrangements. For instance: the entrepreneur allowance , the SME profit exemption , the private business ownership allowance , and the small projects investment credit (KIA) . Be aware that you can only benefit from these schemes if you also meet the time criterion: that is, if you spend at least 1225 hours a year on your business.

Not an entrepreneur, but enjoying results

If you provide products or services against payment, and you can expect a profit, but the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration does not regard you as an entrepreneur, you are ‘enjoying results’. Your income counts as ‘earnings from other activities’. If you are enjoying results, you cannot claim any of the special tax arrangements for entrepreneurs for income tax. You are allowed to deduct the costs you incur for your activities from your profit. And you may still be an entrepreneur for VAT purposes.

Entrepreneur for VAT purposes

To assess whether or not you are an entrepreneur for VAT purposes, the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration considers the following points:
  • Do you practice a profession or run a business independently?
  • Do you have regular income?
  • Do you have income and a job?
  • Are you trying to earn money from an entitlement or assets, like savings, investments or a house or holiday let?
If you are an entrepreneur for income tax purposes, you will usually also be an entrepreneur for VAT purposes. But if you are not an entrepreneur for income tax, you may still be an entrepreneur for VAT.

Small business scheme

Do you run a one man business, or are you a partner in a partnership? And is the amount of VAT you have to pay lower than € 1883, after deduction of the VAT you yourself have paid on business expenses? You may be entitled to the small business scheme , which allows you to pay less or even no VAT at all.

When do you qualify as an entrepreneur at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce?

The Netherlands Chamber of Commerce uses three criteria to determine whether you are an entrepreneur:
  • you provide products or services;
  • you charge a more than nominal/symbolic fee for this;
  • you sell goods or provide services for payment, and you can expect to make a profit.
If you meet these criteria, you can register your business at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce.

Any further questions?

Dutch Tax and Customs Administration

Tax Information Line for non-residents +31 (0)55 538 53 85

Tax Information Line for residents 0800 0543

This information is provided by

Dutch Tax and Customs Administration
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce