Entrepreneurship: Getting started

Step by step

If you want to apply for a residence permit as an entrepreneur in the Netherlands there are a lot
of steps to take. To create some clarity we have made a step by step document.

Meet up with an immigration lawyer to discuss your immigration case
– Prepare all items necessary for your meeting with the IND. Expats Haarlem can assist you with
the business plan and financial plan
Collect all necessary documents for your meeting with the IND and meet up with your
immigration lawyer again
Meeting with the IND. During this meeting you will receive a stamp in your passport which
functions as a temporary visa
– Plan a meeting with the gemeente (city hall, town hall, municipality). Almost all gemeenten
have convenient walk-in hours, allowing you to speak with one of the English-speaking
officers to inform them of your arrival. However, in Amsterdam you will need to make an
appointment and this can take up to several weeks. The number to call is 14 020. They can
assist you in scheduling a registration appointment, for which you will need to bring your
passport(s) or identity card(s) and a certified copy of your birth certificate (apostille may be
required). In many cases, if your birth certificate is older than six months, you will be given
ample time to sort out a more recent copy and a deadline for handing it in (this will not delay
the registration process). Come prepared with basic information, such as your parents’ names,
your parents’ birthdays, your birthday and your current address, as you’ll have to fill out
several standard forms during your appointment. If living in a shared rental accommodation,
the main tenant of the property will most likely need to supply a form of identification as well
as a signature to confirm your agreed living situation. Bring along the tenant, if possible.
Providing a tenancy agreement should also suffice.
During this meeting you will receive your Burger Service Nummer (BSN), your Dutch social
security number.
– Register your business with the Chamber of Commerce — Kamer van Koophandel (KvK)
When you have decided on the type of business you would like to start, then you need to have it
registered with the Kamer van Koophandel, the Dutch Chamber of Commerce.
Registration is possible anywhere from one week before you start doing business to one week
after you have started. You can stop by during office hours or make an appointment online via

Make sure to bring your passport, BSN and a document with your official address. They will ask
you about the type of business you will start and the expected turnover and cost
for the first year.

– Open up a business bankaccount. ABM AMRO, Rabobank and ING are large, international
banks. They provide all information in English.
However, Triodos and ASN are smaller ‚green’ banks that are also worth considering. A
green (ethical) bank is a bank concerned with the (social and) environmental impacts
of its investments and loans. Ethical banks are regulated by the same authorities as
traditional banks and have to abide by the same rules. Websites are only available in
Dutch. Expats Haarlem can assist you in opening up a bank with one of these banks.

Note: Applicants under the Dutch American Friendship Treaty or the Japanese Dutch Trade
agreement must deposit at least € 4.500,- into their newly opened business account. Then
send a copy of this bank statement to your immigration lawyer who will pass this
information on to the IND

Dutch taxes for entrepreneurs

As soon as you register your business with the Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel)
your information will be passed on to the Dutch tax authorities (Belastingdienst). You will start
receiving the distinct blue envelopes.
First letters you will receive are in regard to:
– Your btw-nummer (vat number).
– Which taxes you should file and how often (income tax, vat declaration per month, quarter or
year, payroll tax, corporation tax)
– Two separate letters with your password and username to login on the website of the
Belastingdienst. This way you would be able to file your own taxes. However, as this is
all in Dutch it is strongly advised to get in touch with a bookkeeper to do this on your
behalf. Do hang on to your password and username though, he or she might need
this. Expats Haarlem can assist you in finding the right bookkeeper.

Getting started taxes


Business-owners in the Netherlands are obliged to keep detailed accounts for up to seven years.
This includes administrative documents recorded both on paper and electronically. These
administrative documents include invoices sent and received, bank statements, contracts and
agreements made.
You should also keep a close track of your VAT expenses. As well as invoices sent and received
this also includes all receipts related to your business expenses, you might be able to claim the
VAT paid.

Business expenses

An overview of possible business expenses: – Small materials
– Investments (Over € 450,-)
– Services third parties (lawyer, bookkeeper etc)
– Rent (check whether it is with or without VAT)
– Gas, water, electricity from the place you work from
– Fuel – can only be deducted if the car is in the company name and therefore business balance
– Repair and maintenance – can only be deducted if the car is in the company name
– Car rental
– Public transportation
– Taxi
– Kilometre registration (if the car isn’t on your business balance). Keep an excel sheet with
date, location and exact amount of kilometres. You can deduct € 0,19 per kilometre.
– Other transport cost (please note that plane tickets have 0% vat)
– Office equipment
– Business related subscriptions
– Postal charges
– Telephone and fax
– Mobile phone (if business and private combined you can deduct 75%)
– Internet cost (including web domain)
– Printed paper
– Other office cost
– Advertisement and publicity cost
– Relation presents (0% vat)
– Lunch and dinner cost (0% vat)
– Chamber of Commerce (0% vat)
– Advice cost
– Training cost
– Professional literature
– Other general cost
– Other general cost (if ticket is lost) (0% vat)

If you need a car for your business, you have two options. Use your own private car for the
business or put a car on the balance of the company. With the first option (using the private
car), you can claim the business kilometer against € 0,19 per kilometer. In the second option (on
the balance) it is possible to deduct all the expenses (fuel, insurance, taxes). However, at the end
of the year you must add the car to your personal income because of the personal use. As a
result, you will have higher income. Which described option is the best in your case, must be
calculated and depends on your personal situation (value of the car, amount of business
kilometres etc.). Expats Haarlem can make this calculation for you.

Please keep in mind that even though you will not get any vat back on certain expenses like
lunch and dinner cost, this is still a way to bring down your taxable income (turnover-cost=profitdeductions=
taxable income).

You can claim business cost up to three months prior to your registration with the Kamer van
Koophandel. For large business investments you can even declare up to six months prior to your

Quarters and deadlines:

1st quarter: 1 January – 31 March Declare and pay before 30 April
2nd quarter: 1 April – 30 June Declare and pay before 31 July
3rd quarter: 1 July – 30 September Declare and pay before 31 October
4th quarter: 1 October – 31 December Declare and pay before 31 January.

Supplementary vat declaration

And if you do forget to include a receipt or invoice throughout the year there is the possibility to
file a supplementary vat declaration (suppletie omzetbelasting). Up to a €1.000,- difference the
extra vat to pay or receive can be corrected in the following quarter. If the amount is higher your
bookkeeper can file a separate extra declaration on your behalf.

Income tax and the regulations in the Netherlands – Sole proprietorship (eenmanszaak)

Non-limited liability company
If you have a non-limited liability company as a self-employed entrepreneur/freelancer then you
have to declare your income as ‘business profits’. In that case you can also apply for certain
entrepreneur facilities such as, investment allowance, tax-deferred retirement reserve and
entrepreneur allowance (tax credits). Some entrepreneurs allowance are:

• Self-employed persons allowance (zelfstandigenaftrek)
• Starter allowance (startersaftrek)
• R&D allowance (S&O aftrek)
• Co-working partner relief (meewerkaftrek)

In order to fulfill the above mentioned allowances, you have to meet the ‘hour criterion’. This
means you have to be active for at least 1.225 hours a year. This includes direct working hours
but also hours spent on traveling, market research and administration. It is advisable to keep an
administration of your hours spent. The other criteria is that the tax authorities see you as an
entrepreneur. This means that besides taking risk you have at least 3 different clients throughout
the year. In addition one of these clients cannot provide you with more than 70% of your income
or take up more than 70% of your time.

Based on the administration the income tax return must be filed. This must be done before April
1 of every year. As an entrepreneur you will receive an invitation from the Dutch tax authorities.
Most tax advice companies have an extension arrangement with the Dutch tax authorities. In that
case the tax return can be filed one year later. Be aware that if you file the tax return too late
penalties will be issued.

Invoice requirements

If clients are invoiced, certain invoice requirements must be met. The invoice must contain the
date of issue, invoice number, full name and address of you and your client, description of the
provided goods/service, Dutch VAT rate, the amount, chamber of commerce number. In EU
situations the EU-VAT number of yourself and the client abroad must be stated on the invoice.

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