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Getting a VAT Number in the Netherlands: A Step-by-step Guide

Getting a VAT number in the Netherlands may seem daunting, but with the right guidance, it can be straightforward. In this guide, we will break down the necessary steps and provide tips to ensure you can successfully obtain a VAT number for your business. Whether you are a local entrepreneur or an international company looking to expand to the Dutch market, understanding this process is crucial for your future operations.

Understanding VAT in the Netherlands

What is VAT

VAT (Value Added Tax) is a tax on the consumption or use of goods and services levied at each point of sale. In the Netherlands, it's known as BTW (Belasting over de Toegevoegde Waarde).

One main difference between VAT and BTW-ID is that the VAT number is used for communication with the tax authorities, while the BTW-ID is used for business-to-business transactions within the EU.

Additionally, the BTW-ID doesn't change, even if the business details do, whereas the VAT number may change.

Any business that makes taxable goods or services in the Netherlands is required to have a VAT number. This includes businesses located outside the Netherlands but doing business within its borders, as well as those importing goods into the country.

Differences between btw, VAT, and btw-id

VAT and btw-id are related to taxes in the Netherlands, but they serve different functions for businesses.

VAT refers to the Value Added Tax, which is a consumption tax placed on goods and services sold within the European Union.

VAT and btw are essentially the same tax, where VAT is the international term and btw is the Dutch term.

On the other hand, a btw-id is a number that the Tax and Customs Administration assigns to businesses for communication purposes.

The process of obtaining a VAT number in the Netherlands is different from obtaining a btw-id.

Businesses that sell goods or services internationally need a VAT number, whereas a btw-id is necessary for transactions within the Netherlands.

In some cases, a business may require both a VAT number and a btw-id.

For example, when a business in the Netherlands sells goods to another business within the European Union, it should charge VAT and include their VAT number on the invoice.

When selling to a customer in the Netherlands, they should charge the btw instead.

Who Needs a VAT Number

Businesses in the Netherlands and those outside the EU selling goods or services in the country must have a VAT number. Factors like business activity type and annual sales can decide if registration is needed. Import/export businesses and service providers in the Netherlands may require a VAT number. Not having one when necessary can lead to penalties and legal trouble. It's crucial for businesses to know their VAT registration requirements to avoid problems.

Starting Your Dutch Business

Choosing the Right Legal Entity

When starting a business in the Netherlands, entrepreneurs have to think about the different types of legal structures they can use. These include sole proprietorship, general partnership, limited partnership, private limited company, and public limited company. Each type has its own rules for things like liability, taxes, and legal requirements. These rules can have a big effect on how the business runs and its financial responsibilities.

For example, when it comes to VAT registration and following the rules, the legal structure a business chooses will decide how they register for VAT, what reports they have to send, and how much they might owe if something goes wrong.

Picking the right legal structure is very important to make sure a business follows the VAT rules in the Netherlands. For instance, a sole proprietorship might have different rules for VAT registration compared to a private limited company. If a business doesn't pick the right structure, they might not follow the VAT rules and could get in trouble.

Business Activity and Tax Numbers

Businesses in the Netherlands need three important numbers - a Chamber of Commerce (KvK) number, a Value Added Tax (VAT) number, and a wage tax number.

To get a VAT number, businesses must be involved in taxable activities and have a permanent establishment or branch in the country. They need to fill out a VAT registration form and submit it to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.

Once they have a VAT number, businesses can use the European Commission's VAT Information Exchange System (VIES) to verify VAT numbers for cross-border transactions within the EU.

Employers in the Netherlands must also register for a wage tax number with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration to report and pay wage tax for their employees.

These numbers are crucial for businesses to operate legally and fulfill their tax responsibilities in the Netherlands.

How to Get a VAT Number in the Netherlands

Register with the KVK

In the Netherlands, if you operate as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or legal entity, you must register with the KVK. After registration, you can apply for a VAT Identification Number, also known as the BTW identification number. Once the application process is complete, you will receive your VAT tax number and BTW-ID. This number is essential for businesses involved in taxable activities in the Netherlands, as it ensures proper collection and payment of VAT on goods and services.

Rememberto include this number on all invoices and relevant business documents. Without the VAT number and BTW-ID, businesses may face compliance issues when operating in the country.

Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is a business owned and operated by a single individual. There is no legal distinction between the owner and the business. Operating as a sole proprietorship has advantages. It's simple to form and operate, and the owner has full control and receives all profits. However, a major disadvantage is that the owner is personally liable for business debts or legal actions.

In the Netherlands, sole proprietors must register for a VAT number if their annual turnover exceeds a certain threshold. This allows them to collect VAT for the government and deduct any VAT paid on business-related expenses. Sole proprietors are also subject to income tax on their business profits and are not considered a separate legal entity. This means they are taxed as individuals.

Understanding the tax implications is important for the business's financial health and the owner's personal finances.


Value Added Tax in the Netherlands is also known as BTW (Belasting over de Toegevoegde Waarde). A BTW-ID is a separate ID for businesses for VAT purposes. Partnership businesses, whether domestic or foreign, with a turnover of over €10,000 per year in the Netherlands, need to get a VAT number and a BTW-ID. This requirement applies to businesses working with other legal entities, not just individual consumers.

To apply for these numbers, a partnership business needs to fill out a registration form with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration, or Belastingdienst, once it is officially registered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. It's important to note that failing to register for VAT could result in penalties, so partnership businesses need to understand the requirements and process for obtaining these tax numbers.

Legal Entities

Getting a VAT number in the Netherlands is an important step for any business. It may seem complex, but it's necessary, particularly for those involved in international trade.

VAT, BTW, and BTW-ID are essential terms to understand. VAT is the general consumption tax in the EU, including the Netherlands. BTW is the Dutch abbreviation for VAT, and BTW-ID is a unique ID for businesses dealing within the EU.

Different legal entities like sole proprietorships, partnerships, and private limited companies have varied requirements for obtaining a VAT number. Understanding these differences is crucial for navigating the process smoothly.

Apply for a VAT Identification Number

To apply for a VAT Identification Number in the Netherlands, follow these steps:

  1. Register with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration online or by mail.

  2. This is necessary for those involved in economic activities and providing VAT-subject goods or services.

  3. Provide personal and company details, including legal structure, activities, and financial information.

  4. Submit a Chamber of Commerce number, proof of identity, and information on a tax representative if applicable.

  5. Note specific eligibility criteria, such as having a permanent or fixed establishment, or meeting distance selling requirements.

  6. After submission, the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration will review the information and issue the VAT Identification Number.

Receive Your VAT Tax Number and BTW-ID

To get a VAT Identification Number in the Netherlands, you first need to register with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KVK). After registering the business successfully, you will automatically get a VAT Tax Number and a BTW-ID.

This involves filling out application forms, providing identification documents, and paying the registration fee. Once approved, the VAT Tax Number and BTW-ID will be sent by mail.

When registering with the KVK, you need to give details about the business nature, legal structure, and the business owner's personal details. It's important to provide all the required information accurately to avoid registration delays.

Invoicing and VAT Requirements

Invoice Requirements for Dutch Business

Dutch businesses need to include specific information on invoices. This includes the company's name, address, and VAT ID. When issuing invoices, the VAT ID must indicate that the company is registered for VAT purposes.

If there are changes to the business, such as a change of address, the VAT number must be updated. If the company ceases operations or merges with another business, the VAT number should be canceled.

To obtain a VAT number in the Netherlands, businesses can register with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration, also known as Belastingdienst. Once registered, the VAT number can be used for transactions within the European Union.

In case of a change or cancelation of the VAT number, businesses can inform Belastingdienst to make necessary adjustments and ensure compliance with invoice requirements for Dutch businesses.

Using Your Company's VAT ID on Invoices

The company's VAT ID needs to be on invoices, as required by the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. This includes the VAT identification number, customer's name and address, date of issue, and a unique invoice number. Failing to include the VAT ID may lead to fines or penalties. Improper invoicing could cause accounting issues for both the company and its clients.

The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration has specific regulations for using a company's VAT ID on invoices, non-compliance could lead to legal consequences. Therefore, it's important for companies to follow the guidelines to avoid any issues related to invoicing and VAT compliance.

Verifying VAT Numbers and Compliance

Why Verify VAT Numbers

Verifying VAT numbers is important for businesses in the Netherlands. It ensures the legitimacy and accuracy of transactions. Failure to verify VAT numbers can lead to severe consequences such as fines and penalties for non-compliance with tax regulations. It can also result in the inability to reclaim VAT on purchases, affecting the company's bottom line.

By verifying VAT numbers, businesses show their commitment to complying with Dutch tax regulations, maintaining a good standing with the taxauthorities.

Additionally, it helps in preventing fraudulent activities and ensures legitimate transactions with other VAT-registered entities.

How to Verify a VAT Number in the Netherlands

To check a VAT number in the Netherlands, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the official website of the European Commission.

  2. Choose "VAT Number Validation" from the options.

  3. Select Netherlands from the list of EU countries.

  4. Enter the VAT number and click "Verify" for instant confirmation.

To verify a VAT number, you'll need the company or individual's VAT number. The VIES online tool can also be used to check VAT numbers within the EU, including those from the Netherlands. This resource provides information about the business related to the VAT number.

Frequently Asked Questions about Dutch VAT

What is RSIN

RSIN, or Rechtspersonen Samenwerkingsverbanden Informatie Nummer, is a unique identification number used by the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. It is important for registering legal entities and partnerships in the Netherlands.

It is necessary for obtaining a VAT number in the country.

On the other hand, a KVK (Kamer van Koophandel) Number is used to identify a business registered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce.

The RSIN is often required for registering a TIN (Tax Identification Number), necessary for identifying taxpayers or businesses when interacting with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.

This TIN is required for doing business, paying employees, or making purchases in the Netherlands.

Understanding the relationship between RSIN and TIN is important when obtaining a VAT number. It plays a key role in ensuring compliance with tax laws and regulations in the Netherlands.

Difference between RSIN and KVK Number

In the Netherlands, businesses use two different identification numbers: the RSIN (Rechtspersonen en Samenwerkingsverbanden Identificatienummer) and the KVK (Kamer van Koophandel) Number.

The RSIN Number, a unique 9-digit ID, is assigned to legal entities and partnerships by the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. This number is crucial for fulfilling tax obligations.

On the other hand, the KVK Number is issued by the Chamber of Commerce and primarily serves as a business registration number.

Both numbers are essential for businesses in the Netherlands, required for transactions with government agencies, suppliers, and clients.

Having both RSIN and KVK Numbers ensures that a business operates lawfully and can engage in activities such as filing tax returns, buying property, and taking out loans.

What is TIN

In the Netherlands, a Tax Identification Number (TIN) is a unique code used to identify businesses and individuals for tax purposes.

For businesses, it is required when registering for a Value Added Tax number, also known as BTW-ID. The VAT number is used for transactions within the European Union, while the TIN is used for tax-related communication with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.

The TIN is not a public number and is not used for invoicing or communication with clients, unlike the BTW-ID. To obtain a TIN for a business in the Netherlands, one must first register with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce and then complete the application process with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.

The requirements for obtaining a TIN include providing proof of identity and business registration, as well as completing the necessary forms.

How to Change or Cancel Your VAT Number

To change a VAT number in the Netherlands, a business must:

  • Notify the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration by submitting a change form.

  • Include the current VAT number, the new VAT number, and the reason for the change in the form.

  • Provide any relevant documents or evidence to support the request for the change.

To cancel a VAT number in the Netherlands, a business needs to:

  • Fill out a cancellation form.

  • Provide a valid reason for the cancellation.

  • Submit any required documents, which may vary based on specific circumstances like a change in business structure or cessation of trading activities.

It's important for businesses to:

  • Ensure all outstanding VAT returns have been submitted.

  • Settle any VAT liabilities before requesting a change or cancellation of the VAT number.

  • Inform their suppliers and customers of the change or cancellation to avoid disruptions in business operations.

Over to you

This article explains how to get a VAT number in the Netherlands. It goes through the steps, like registering with the Dutch Trade Register, getting a Citizen Service Number, and applying for the VAT number from the Dutch tax authorities.

The guide also provides details about the documents and forms required for the application.

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House of Companies launches the Entity Management Portal wrapped in an entrepreneurial community.

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