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Starting a Non-Profit Organization (NGO) in the Netherlands: A Guide by House of Companies

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What is an NGO and how do you start one?

An NGO, or Non-Governmental Organization, is a non-profit organization that operates independently of the government. In the Netherlands, individuals interested in starting an NGO must follow specific steps to establish a foundation that can work in the country. To start an NGO in the Netherlands, one must register their foundation in the Dutch Chamber of Commerce and with the Dutch tax authorities. The registration process involves choosing a name for the foundation, creating articles of association, and appointing board members to oversee the organization's activities. Additionally, a notary must be involved in setting up the foundation on behalf of the foundation. While NGOs in the Netherlands are non-profit organizations, they may generate profit through their business activities, but this profit must be reinvested into the foundation's mission and goals.

When establishing an NGO in the Netherlands, entrepreneurs can choose to start an entirely new foundation or convert an existing business entity, such as a Dutch BV or business, into a foundation. The purpose of a foundation must align with the terms and conditions set by the Dutch Chamber of Commerce and the Dutch tax authorities. NGOs may also be eligible for subsidies to support their work in the Netherlands.

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Why start a foundation in the Netherlands?

Starting a foundation in the Netherlands can be a strategic decision for those looking to establish a business in the Netherlands while also giving back to society. The Dutch government is known for its favorable tax policies for charitable organizations, making it an attractive destination for setting up a dutch NGO or stichting.

One of the main reasons to consider the Netherlands as a base for your foundation is the ease of establishment compared to the German or Belgium Foundation requirements. The process of setting up a foundation in the Netherlands is relatively straightforward, with clear guidelines provided by the Netherlands chamber of commerce. Additionally, a foundation may make a profit in the Netherlands without jeopardizing its tax-exempt status, unlike in some other countries.

Compared to its neighboring countries such as Germany and Belgium, the Netherlands is known for having a more favorable regulatory environment for charities. The Dutch government is supportive of philanthropic initiatives and provides various incentives for organizations that contribute to the public good. This has made the Netherlands one of the most popular destinations for establishing foundations in Europe.

Before starting your dutch NGO or stichting, it is important to contact House of Companies or other relevant authorities to ensure that you meet all the necessary requirements and regulations. By choosing the Netherlands as the location for your foundation, you can take advantage of the country's business-friendly environment and contribute to meaningful social causes at the same time.

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What is a Dutch foundation company exactly?

A Dutch foundation company, also known as a Dutch NGO, is a unique legal entity in the Netherlands that is characterized by its no corporation tax status. This type of entity is often used for charitable purposes, such as providing aid to developing countries or working with volunteers. The foundation has a board that oversees its operations and ensures that its profits are allocated in accordance with its mission. Unlike traditional corporations, a Dutch foundation has no legal shareholders, making it an orphan entity in the eyes of the law.

One of the key benefits of establishing a Dutch foundation is its ideal structure for asset protection, especially if it is set up as a family foundation. The foundation's name must be registered with the Dutch state through the House of Companies, which is the official platform for registering legal entities in the Netherlands. In order to conduct business and employ staff, the foundation must also register as an employer and fulfill its payroll obligations.

For organizations looking to establish a presence in the Netherlands, setting up a Dutch foundation can be advantageous, especially if they plan to engage in business with developing countries. The foundation's no corporate income tax status can result in significant cost savings, allowing more resources to be directed towards the foundation's charitable initiatives. In addition, the Dutch government offers support and advice to NGOs through platforms such as business.gov.nl, making it easier for organizations to navigate the legal requirements of operating in the country.

Overall, a Dutch foundation company provides a solid legal framework for organizations seeking to make a positive impact in society. Whether it is through providing aid to those in need or promoting social welfare, a Dutch foundation offers a platform for organizations to channel their resources and expertise towards meaningful causes. By taking advantage of the benefits of setting up a Dutch foundation, organizations can make a difference in the world while also enjoying the legal protections and support that come with this unique legal structure.


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Tax benefits of the Dutch Stichting

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When it comes to tax benefits, the Dutch stichting stands out as an attractive option for businesses looking to minimize their tax liability. One of the key advantages of a Dutch stichting is that it generally has no standard corporate tax liability. This means that if the foundation does not engage in profitable activities, it may not be subject to corporate taxes.

For a Dutch stichting to qualify for this tax benefit, it must meet certain criteria. One of the requirements is that the foundation's annual turnover does not exceed a certain treshold, which is currently set at € 75,000. As long as the foundation's turnover remains below this limit, it can benefit from the tax advantages of a Dutch stichting.

It is important to note that even if a Dutch stichting does not have a standard corporate tax liability, it may still be required to register for VAT if it engages in certain activities. VAT registration is mandatory for businesses that provide taxable goods or services in the Netherlands, regardless of their legal structure. Therefore, it is essential for Dutch stichting to be aware of their VAT obligations and comply with the relevant regulations.

In conclusion, the tax benefits of a Dutch stichting can provide businesses with valuable opportunities to minimize their tax liability. By meeting the necessary criteria and maintaining no profitable activities, a Dutch stichting can enjoy the advantages of reduced tax obligations. However, it is crucial for businesses to be aware of any additional requirements, such as VAT registration, to ensure compliance with Dutch tax laws. Overall, the Dutch stichting offers a favorable tax environment for businesses looking to optimize their tax position and maximize their financial benefits.

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What is the Dutch ANBI status?

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ANBI status is optional. The Dutch ANBI status, short for Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling, is a designation given to organizations that meet certain criteria. However, it is important to note that obtaining ANBI status is not mandatory for all non-profit organizations in the Netherlands. Organizations can choose whether or not to apply for this status, depending on their goals and activities.

Criteria of ANBI registration are. In order to qualify for ANBI status, organizations must meet a set of criteria set forth by the Dutch tax authorities. Some of the main criteria include having multiple directors who are in charge of managing and representing the organization, as well as a board of supervisors to oversee the directors' actions and decisions. These governance structures are put in place to ensure transparency and accountability within the organization.

Taxfree status does not require a separate ANBI status. It is important to note that organizations that are already enjoying tax-free status in the Netherlands do not need to obtain a separate ANBI status. This is because the tax-free status already signifies that the organization meets the necessary criteria for being considered a public benefit organization. However, some organizations may still choose to apply for ANBI status as a way to further demonstrate their commitment to transparency and good governance.

Overall, the Dutch ANBI status is a valuable designation for non-profit organizations that meet the criteria set forth by the tax authorities. While it is not mandatory, obtaining ANBI status can provide organizations with certain tax benefits and help them build trust with donors and stakeholders. By adhering to the governance structures required for ANBI status, organizations can demonstrate their commitment to operating in the public interest and making a positive impact on society.

Register your NGO as a foundation with KVK

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Registering your NGO as a foundation with KVK is a crucial step in establishing your organization as a legal entity. When setting up a foundation, a notary is involved in drafting and notarizing the foundation deed, which outlines the purpose and structure of the foundation. The notary will then register the foundation deed at the KvK (Chamber of Commerce), ensuring that the foundation is officially recognized by the government.

Choosing the name of the foundation is an important decision, as it will become the public face of your organization. Just like starting a new business, a foundation must have a clear business plan outlining its goals, activities, and how it intends to achieve them. The foundation will also need to provide a business address where it can be contacted.

It is essential to understand that a foundation is a legal entity separate from its founders and members. As such, the foundation must adhere to certain legal requirements, including the need to pay corporation tax. While the aim of a foundation is not necessarily to make a profit, it is still considered a notarial act to set it up and run it in a proper manner.

Starting your own foundation is a serious endeavor that requires careful planning and attention to detail. By registering your foundation with the KVK and following all legal requirements, you can ensure that your organization operates smoothly and effectively. Whether your foundation aims to support a specific cause, provide educational opportunities, or promote social change, registering as a foundation with KVK is an important step in realizing your vision and making a positive impact on the world.

Donors and volunteers for your foundation

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As a non-governmental organization committed to the environment, we rely on the support of donors and volunteers to fulfill our mission. Whether it's through monetary contributions or hands-on assistance, their contributions are vital to the success of our initiatives. Our board members closely monitor the allocation of profits from donors, ensuring that every dollar is used effectively towards our social purpose. We are grateful for the partnership of governments, businesses, and individuals who share our vision of a sustainable future.

Contact us for assistance

If your Dutch business wants to set up one clear social purpose, House of Companies can assist with the legal aspects of establishing a vereniging or coöperatie. Our team can provide guidance on tax laws and social responsibilities, ensuring that your foundation operates within the necessary legal frameworks. Whether you need help with power of attorney or terms of service, we are here to support you every step of the way. Reach out to us for more information on how we can assist your organization.

Taxes for Dutch NGO's

When it comes to taxes, Dutch Foundations have specific rules and regulations that must be followed. One important point to note is that Dutch Foundations are generally exempt from corporate tax. This means that they are not required to pay taxes on their profits, which can be beneficial for those involved in running these organizations. However, it is crucial to understand that as a result of this exemption, no dividends are possible. This limitation is something that individuals must consider when setting up and managing Dutch Foundations.


Additionally, depending on the activities of the Foundation, vat registration might be required. Value Added Tax (VAT) is a consumption tax that is ultimately paid by the end consumer, but the Foundation may be responsible for collecting and remitting it to the tax authorities. Failure to comply with VAT regulations can result in penalties and fines, so it is essential to stay informed and adhere to the necessary requirements.

Furthermore, Dutch Foundations are generally not required to file corporate tax returns, unless they meet certain criteria that make them taxable. In such cases, the Foundation would be subject to the same rules and regulations as any other business operating in the Netherlands. This means that if a Foundation is deemed taxable, then normal corporate taxes apply.


In conclusion, understanding the tax implications for Dutch Foundations is crucial for individuals involved in these types of organizations. While the exemption from corporate tax can be advantageous, it is essential to be aware of the limitations, such as the inability to distribute dividends. Additionally, VAT registration may be required depending on the activities of the Foundation, and compliance with tax regulations is necessary to avoid penalties. Overall, staying informed and seeking professional advice can help ensure that Dutch Foundations remain in good standing with the tax authorities.

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Liability for the board of directors of an NGO/stichting

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When it comes to the board of directors of an NGO or stichting, the responsibility is no small matter. These organizations operate without the aim to make a profit, yet still must adhere to strict guidelines when it comes to financial management. Profits must be allocated in accordance with the organization's mission and goals, which can often be a complex process. Board members or donors must monitor the board of directors to ensure transparency and ethical practices are being upheld.

House of Companies can assist with financial management, especially when it comes to overseeing money from donors and partnerships with governments. Utilizing radio and TV as media to reach a wider audience can also help in fundraising efforts. Taxes and social responsibilities must be taken seriously, as neglecting these areas can result in legal consequences for the board. Business days are filled with tasks such as preparing income tax returns and maintaining the vereniging and coöperatie status of the organization.

Therefore, it is crucial for the board of directors of an NGO or stichting to carefully consider their actions and decisions, as they hold a significant amount of liability in ensuring the organization's financial stability and adherence to regulations. Failure to do so can have serious repercussions not only for the organization itself, but also for the individuals involved in its governance.

How can a Dutch Stichting have Personnel?

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When establishing a Dutch Stichting, one of the important aspects to consider is how to have personnel. In order to have employees, the Stichting must register as an employer. This means that regular salary taxes apply, and the organization must handle monthly payrolling. If unsure about the procedures, the House of Companies can assist with advice or mediation.

The aim of a Stichting is not to make a profit, unlike starting your own business. Instead, Stichtings often focus on areas such as development aid, environment, or social welfare. Profits from the organization must be allocated towards furthering its mission. With this in mind, it is still possible to register employees and pay them a monthly salary in euros, just like any other employer.

When it comes to networking during meetings and events, having personnel can be beneficial. Whether they are board members, donors, or partners for development cooperation, employees can represent the Stichting in various capacities. It is important to note that the board of directors also plays a crucial role, as they are the ones who monitor the organization's activities and finances.

In terms of liability, employees of a Stichting are not personally liable for any debts incurred by the organization. However, inheritance laws may come into play in certain cases. For guidance on setting up personnel operations within a Stichting, accountants and tax services, as well as intercompany solutions, can provide the necessary expertise. Additionally, tax services for expats working for NGOs can also be beneficial.

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