As a freelancer or self-employed professional in the Netherlands, you have two legal structure options: a sole proprietorship (eenmanszaak, or ez) or a private limited company (bv). Choosing between the two depends on your individual circumstances and goals.
A sole proprietorship is quick and inexpensive to set up, requiring minimal administration and reporting. You're also entitled to certain tax benefits, such as the small business deduction (MKB winstvrijstelling) and the possibility to offset losses against other income. However, this option comes with unlimited liability, meaning your personal assets are at risk in the event of business failure or legal issues.
A private limited company (bv) requires more administration and reporting, but offers limited liability protection for shareholders. It can be advantageous for businesses with higher turnovers, as it can offer tax benefits like lower corporate tax rates and tax-deductible expenses. A bv also tends to have more credibility with clients and suppliers. However, it can also be more expensive to set up and maintain, and may require professional legal and financial advice.
Ultimately, the decision between the two options is a complex one, so it's essential to consult with an expert to make an informed choice that best fits your business needs. You can start with answering some simple questions in this handy KVK tool
Timing is also key when it comes to registering with KVK. You’ve got three options:
- one week before starting your business;
- no later than one week after starting your business;
- earlier than that.
If you're feeling eager and register earlier, your KVK number will become official one week before your business starts, and you won't have to go back to KVK. But be warned, not registering can result in fines and penalties, so make sure to register on time to avoid any hassles later on.