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Netherlands – Self-Employment

Breakdown of how self-employment works for expats in the Netherlands

Self-employment, also known as freelancing, is a popular career choice for expats living in the Netherlands. The Dutch government makes it relatively easy for expats to register as self-employed and start their own businesses.

As a self-employed person in the Netherlands, you are responsible for your own income, taxes, and insurance. You will need to register with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK) and the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst) to operate legally.

Detailed step-by-step guide on how an expat can register as self-employed in the Netherlands

Here is a detailed step-by-step guide on how an expat can register as self-employed in the Netherlands:

  1. Check if you are eligible: Before registering, make sure you are eligible to work as a self-employed person in the Netherlands. You need to be at least 18 years old, have a valid residence permit, and be registered with your local municipality.

  2. Choose your legal structure: As a self-employed person, you have two legal structures to choose from: sole proprietorship (eenmanszaak) or a private limited company (besloten vennootschap or BV).

  3. Register with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK): You must register your business with the KvK before you can start operating. You can register online or in person at one of their offices. You will need to provide your personal details, business name, legal structure, and a description of your business activities.

  4. Register with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst): You must also register with the Belastingdienst for tax and national insurance purposes. You can register online or in person at one of their offices. You will need to provide your personal details, business details, and an estimate of your annual income.

  5. Open a Dutch bank account: To receive payments and pay taxes, you will need to open a Dutch bank account. You can do this online or in person at a bank branch. You will need to provide identification and proof of address.

  6. Register for VAT (BTW): If your annual turnover is over ‚€22,000, you must register for VAT (BTW) with the Belastingdienst. This allows you to charge VAT on your products or services and claim back VAT on your business expenses.

  7. Insurances: Consider taking out insurance to protect your business and yourself in case of accidents, illnesses, or other unforeseen circumstances. The most common insurances for self-employed people are liability insurance, disability insurance, and health insurance.

Can you work as a digital nomad in the Netherlands?

Yes, you can work as a digital nomad in the Netherlands. As long as you have a valid residence permit and are registered with your local municipality, you can work from anywhere in the world as long as you pay taxes in the Netherlands.

However, keep in mind that you may need to meet certain requirements to obtain a Dutch residence permit, such as having a job offer, starting a business, or studying in the Netherlands. You should also check with your home country’s tax authorities to ensure you are not double-taxed on your income.

Breakdown of how an expat can start a company in the Netherlands

Starting a company in the Netherlands is a straightforward process that requires a few steps. The most common legal structure for businesses in the Netherlands is the private limited company (besloten vennootschap or BV).


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Detailed step-by-step guide on how an expat can set up a company in the Netherlands

Here is a detailed step-by-step guide

on how an expat can set up a company in the Netherlands:

  1. Choose your legal structure: The first step in setting up a company in the Netherlands is to choose your legal structure. The most common structure for small and medium-sized businesses is the private limited company (BV). A BV offers limited liability protection to the shareholders and requires a minimum share capital of ‚€0.01.

  2. Reserve a company name: Before registering your company, you must reserve a name with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK). You can check the availability of the name on the KvK website and reserve it for up to three months.

  3. Draft your articles of association: The articles of association are the legal documents that outline the purpose and structure of your company. You can draft the articles yourself or hire a legal professional to do it for you.

  4. Register with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK): Once you have drafted your articles of association, you can register your company with the KvK. You will need to provide personal and business details, including the name of the company, the legal structure, the purpose of the company, and the names of the shareholders.

  5. Open a Dutch bank account: You must open a Dutch bank account for your company to receive payments and pay taxes. You can do this online or in person at a bank branch. You will need to provide identification and proof of address.

  6. Register with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst): You must also register with the Belastingdienst for tax and national insurance purposes. You can register online or in person at one of their offices. You will need to provide personal and business details, including the name of the company, the legal structure, and an estimate of your annual turnover.

  7. Register for VAT (BTW): If your annual turnover is over ‚€22,000, you must register for VAT (BTW) with the Belastingdienst. This allows you to charge VAT on your products or services and claim back VAT on your business expenses.

  8. Hire an accountant: Consider hiring an accountant to help you with bookkeeping, tax returns, and financial advice. A good accountant can save you time and money in the long run.

Incentives or Programs for Expats in the Netherlands

There are several incentives and programs available to encourage expats to become self-employed or set up a company in the Netherlands. Here are some examples:

  1. The Dutch Start-up Visa: The Dutch Start-up Visa is a residence permit that allows foreign entrepreneurs to start a business in the Netherlands for up to one year. To be eligible, you must have an innovative business idea and support from a recognized facilitator in the Netherlands.

  2. The New Entrepreneur Scheme (NES): The NES is a tax incentive program that allows newly self-employed people to pay lower taxes in their first three years of business. The program is available to Dutch and non-Dutch nationals who have not been self-employed in the Netherlands in the past three years.

  3. The Innovation Box: The Innovation Box is a tax incentive program that allows companies to pay a lower tax rate on profits derived from innovative products or services. To be eligible, the company must have a patent or similar intellectual property rights.

  4. Expat centers: Expat centers are one-stop shops for international entrepreneurs and employees in the Netherlands. They offer services such as immigration assistance, tax advice, and networking opportunities.

In conclusion, self-employment and business start-ups in the Netherlands are accessible for expats with a straightforward process. The Dutch government provides ample support and incentives to encourage entrepreneurs to start their own businesses in the country. With the right legal and financial advice, expats can take advantage of these opportunities and build successful businesses in the Netherlands. It is important to note that while the process of starting a business or registering as self-employed in the Netherlands is relatively easy, it is still important to seek the advice of professionals and ensure that you are complying with all the relevant laws and regulations.

Whether you are an expat looking to start a business in the Netherlands or a digital nomad looking to work remotely from the country, there are plenty of opportunities available. The Dutch business climate is open and supportive, and with the right tools and resources, anyone can succeed in building a successful business in the Netherlands.


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