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How to Get a VAT Number in the Netherlands as a Foreign Business

If you're a foreign business looking to expand into the Netherlands, getting a VAT number is an important step. This number allows you to legally conduct business and comply with Dutch tax regulations.

The process may seem daunting at first, but with the right guidance, it can be relatively straightforward. In this article, we'll walk you through the steps to obtain a VAT number in the Netherlands as a foreign business. This will help you start operating in this thriving European market with ease.

Understand VAT in the Netherlands

Basics of VAT for Non-Resident Businesses

Non-resident businesses operating in the Netherlands have to register for VAT if their business activities meet certain criteria. Registration becomes necessary when the company's annual turnover exceeds a specific threshold, which can vary. The process involves obtaining a VAT number from the Dutch tax authorities, filling out the registration form, and submitting necessary documentation, such as proof of business activities in the Netherlands.

For digital services and e-commerce businesses, VAT regulations in the Netherlands also relate to the supply of goods, distance selling, electronic services, and B2C transactions. It's essential for these businesses to understand the rules and thresholds for VAT compliance, as well as the implications for pricing, invoicing, and VAT reporting.

Additionally, non-EU businesses providing digital services in the Netherlands should consider the VAT rules specific to this sector, including the Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS) scheme, which simplifies VAT compliance for cross-border digital services within the EU.

Goods and Services Subject to VAT

Goods and services that are subject to VAT in the Netherlands include tangible items like clothing, electronics, and household goods. Services such as transportation, accommodation, and meals at restaurants are also taxed.

Digital services and e-commerce are also under Dutch VAT regulations, with special rules for transactions with other EU countries. The VAT rates in the Netherlands vary, with a standard rate of 21% for most products and a reduced rate of 9% for certain items like food, medicine, and books. Additionally, there is a 0% rate for specific goods like international transport and exports.

Dutch VAT Rates

The standard VAT rate in the Netherlands is 21%. This rate applies to most goods and services. There are reduced VAT rates for certain items: a 9% rate for goods and services like food, drink, medication, books, and public transport, and a 0% rate for international transport of goods.

When it comes to digital services and e-commerce, the Dutch VAT rates are different for physical goods. Digital services are taxed at the standard 21% rate, while e-commerce goods may be subject to the reduced 9% VAT rate if they fall under qualifying categories.

Understanding these variations is important for foreign businesses with a Dutch VAT number. It impacts their pricing strategies and compliance with tax requirements. Therefore, businesses need to be aware of the different VAT rates and how they apply to their specific goods and services to avoid complications or penalties.

Check if You Need a VAT Number

When VAT Registration Is Mandatory

Foreign businesses operating in the Netherlands must register for VAT. They need to do this if their taxable turnover exceeds €50,000 in a year. If a business expects to reach this threshold in the next 30 days, they must also register. However, there are exceptions. Businesses supplying VAT-exempt goods or services and small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are exempt from mandatory VAT registration.

It's important for foreign businesses to understand these criteria when operating in the country.

Activities That Trigger VAT Registration

Certain business activities in the Netherlands may require non-resident businesses to register for VAT. These activities include selling goods, providing services, and importing goods into the Netherlands.

Additionally, participating in e-commerce activities, such as selling digital services to Dutch customers, can also impact VAT registration requirements. Meeting specific sales and transaction thresholds can trigger mandatory VAT registration for non-resident businesses. For instance, if a business surpasses certain thresholds set by Dutch tax authorities, they must register for VAT. It's important for foreign businesses in the Netherlands to be aware of these thresholds and comply with VAT registration requirements to avoid penalties or legal issues.

VAT Number for Foreign Businesses in Netherlands

Registration Procedure for EU Businesses

EU businesses wanting a VAT number in the Netherlands need to register with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. They can do this online or by appointing a fiscal representative in the Netherlands. To register, they need to provide their articles of association, a recent trade register extract, and their current turnover tax identification number.

After getting the VAT number, EU businesses must follow Dutch VAT regulations by submitting VAT returns and maintaining precise records of theirtransactions in the Netherlands. It's important to keep up with any changes in Dutch VAT regulations that might impact their business.

Registration Steps for Non-EU Businesses

Non-EU businesses seeking a VAT number in the Netherlands need to follow specific steps.

Firstly, they should appoint a tax representative in the country to handle their VAT obligations. Then, they must complete a registration form and provide documents like a certificate of incorporation, articles of association, and proof of business activities in the Netherlands.

In addition, non-EU businesses must stay compliant with Dutch VAT regulations by submitting timely VAT returns, maintaining transaction records, and following invoicing requirements. By following these steps and staying updated on VAT regulations, non-EU businesses can effectively manage the process of obtaining and retaining a VAT number in the Netherlands.

Digital Services and E-commerce Considerations

Businesses that provide digital services and engage in e-commerce in the Netherlands need to follow the country's VAT rules. This includes services like software downloads, online subscriptions, and streaming, as well as selling goods through online platforms. Non-resident businesses must get a VAT number from the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration to stay compliant. This is usually done online and involves submitting necessary documents like ID and business proof.

Also, businesses must keep thorough records, including invoices and sales documents, to show they follow Dutch VAT rules. By following these steps, non-resident businesses can handle VAT for digital services and e-commerce in the Netherlands.

Gather Required Documents

List of Necessary Documents

Foreign businesses in the Netherlands need certain documents to get a VAT number. They need proof of their business activities, like sales invoices or contracts. It's also important to have company registration papers or articles of incorporation. And they need a valid passport or identity card for identification. These documents are important for foreign businesses to register for a VAT number in the Netherlands and follow local tax rules.

For example, they need sales invoices, company registration papers, and valid identification documents like a passport or identity card.

Proof of Business Activities

Foreign businesses seeking a VAT number in the Netherlands must provide proof of their business activities. This can include sales invoices, purchase orders, contracts, and bank statements. They can also show import and export documents, as well as records of purchases and sales. Attendance at trade shows, conferences, or business meetings can also support their application.

These documents establish their commercial presence and legitimate operations in the country, meeting the requirements for VAT registration. By presenting this evidence, they validate their business activities and economic engagement, ensuring compliance with necessary regulations.

Identification Documents

Foreign businesses wanting to get a VAT number in the Netherlands need to provide certain ID documents when applying. These usually include the company's articles of association, the authorized person's proof of identity, and a recent extract from the business registry of the home country. Additional documents like a certificate of incorporation or a recent bank statement might also be required. All ID documents should meet current standards and be in Dutch or English.

For instance, the business registry extract can't be older than six months. It's important to meet the specific format and validation requirements set by the Dutch tax authorities to prevent delays in the VAT registration process.

Company Registration Papers

To register for VAT in the Netherlands, you need specific company documents. These include the Certificate of Incorporation or Chamber of Commerce registration, as well as proof of the company's legal form like articles of association or partnership agreement. Foreign businesses also need to provide identification for the authorized representative, such as a passport copy.

These documents should be submitted with the VAT registration application form to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. You can choose to send the documents by mail or use their online portal. Make sure all documents are complete and accurate to avoid delays.

Proof of EU VAT Registration

To prove EU VAT registration, you need a VAT certificate or a VAT ID from the relevant EU member state. Non-EU businesses can use their VAT ID number to show VAT registration in the Netherlands to the tax authorities. The proof should be a valid and current document from the correct EU member state. It's crucial to provide accurate information and comply with EU VAT regulations to avoid business issues in the Netherlands.

Submit Your VAT Registration

Contact Tax Authorities

You can contact the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration for VAT registration in a few ways: through their website, by phone, or by mail. Non-resident businesses wanting to register for VAT in the Netherlands can use online services on the Tax and Customs Administration's website, which has info and registration forms.

Businesses also have the choice to appoint a fiscal representative to help with VAT registration in the Netherlands. This could be a good option for businesses that want a local representative to handle their VAT affairs.

Use the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration Services

The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration Services can help foreign businesses with VAT registration in the Netherlands. They guide on the process and required documents, like proof of identity, business activity details, and a bank statement.

Alternative: Register via Fiscal Representative

When registering for VAT in the Netherlands as a foreign business, you can choose to register via a fiscal representative. This means appointing a representative in the Netherlands to handle all VAT matters on your behalf. This representative becomes the point of contact for the Dutch tax authorities and is accountable for any VAT debts owed by your business.

There are specific requirements for a fiscal representative in the Netherlands. They must be a resident with a permanent establishment in the country and should not have a history of tax offenses or violations.

This method of VAT registration differs from others as it requires your business to have a physical presence in the country through the fiscal representative. It also involves the representative taking on a significant role and responsibility in meeting VAT regulations and requirements in the Netherlands.

After You Get a VAT Number

Filing Your VAT Return

Foreign businesses must obtain a VAT number from the Dutch tax authorities to file a VAT return in the Netherlands. This can be done through the Tax and Customs Administration's website by submitting an application.

Once the VAT number is obtained, businesses can choose to file their returns quarterly or monthly, based on their specific situation. The deadlines for submitting a VAT return are one month and 15 days after the end of the tax period.

To complete the process, businesses need to keep records of their sales, purchases, import, and export documents. These records should be submitted along with the VAT return. Accuracy and up-to-date documentation are crucial to avoid any issues with the tax authorities.

Claim a VAT Refund

Foreign businesses can claim a VAT refund in the Netherlands by following a specific process.

First, they need to have a valid VAT number in the Netherlands and ensure that the goods or services they are purchasing qualify for a refund. It's important to note that they cannot use their home country's VAT number for purchases in the Netherlands. To support their VAT refund claim, they must provide documentation such as invoices, receipts, and proof of the VAT paid. Specific rules and guidelines apply, including a minimum refund amount and a specific timeframe for submitting refund claims. Following these guidelines is essential for a smooth and successful VAT refund process as a non-resident business in the Netherlands.

Purchasing and Supply Rules

Non-resident businesses in the Netherlands must understand VAT basics. One important factor is identifying if their activities require VAT registration. For instance, when a foreign company sells goods to Dutch consumers and the total value surpasses a specific threshold, VAT registration is necessary. Moreover, businesses should know the purchasing and supply rules for VAT compliance in the Netherlands.

They need to ensure their invoices meet Dutch requirements and possess a valid VAT number for transactions. Understanding and adhering to these rules is crucial for non-resident businesses to operate lawfully and effectively in the Dutch market.

Keep Records and Stay Compliant

What Records to Keep

Foreign businesses in the Netherlands must keep detailed records of all transactions for VAT compliance. This includes invoices, receipts, and other related documents for buying and selling goods and services. It's also important to retain records of imports, exports, and intra-community supplies, for at least seven years according to Dutch tax laws.

Failing to maintain accurate records can lead to penalties and fines from Dutch tax authorities. Inadequate documentation may also hinder businesses in reclaiming VAT, impacting cash flow and overall financial performance. Thorough and organized records are not only a legal requirement but also crucial for the financial health of foreign businesses in the Netherlands.

Importance of Accurate Filing

Accurately filing VAT registration is necessary for foreign businesses in the Netherlands. It ensures proper documentation and accounting within the system. This is important for operating within the legal framework set by Dutch authorities. Inaccurate filing can lead to consequences like fines, penalties, and legal issues, impacting the business's financial stability.

By ensuring accurate filing, businesses can stay compliant with Dutch VAT regulations, maintaining a positive relationship with authorities and claiming entitled VAT refunds. Prioritizing accurate filing of VAT registration is essential for foreign businesses in the Netherlands to avoid issues and comply with regulations.

Final thoughts

Foreign businesses can get a VAT number in the Netherlands by registering with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. The process involves providing business information and getting a Citizen Service Number (BSN) or a Representative's VAT number. After registration, they can begin charging and reclaiming VAT on their goods and services in the Netherlands.

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