Hire contractors and employees with ease
Create contracts in
a matter of minutes
Issue and send invoices with
no limits. Manage them with ease
Take care of all accounting reports for your company
Accounting for SMEs
VAT-Related Tools
Take care of all VAT
problems with our tools
Register your trademark with ease
Trademark Registration
Start your company
with ease on Enty
Register a Company
Take care of overdue or one-time reports with Enty
Accounting Reports
I liked the idea of cooperating with friends, young company and I decided to move forward with you.
And I'm totally satisfied, honestly. You were doing follow-ups and helping me with everything all the time.
Meet our customer!
Let’s grow together!
Become a Partner
Explore useful articles and guides on managing your company
Samantha Asensi
Useful business glossary to help you
Recommend Enty to your friends and receive bonuses from Enty
Invite a Friend
Find out what our
clients are doing
Enty Hub
Explore discounts and offers from Enty’s partners

How to get a VAT number, and other vital questions for ZZPs

Apr 3, 2023 · 6 min read

Don't miss new articles and offers. Subscribe to our newsletter!
Are you a freelancer in the Netherlands? Congrats on being your own boss! Sure, there’s also all the boring stuff you need to keep track of — you know, taxes, rates, regulations, and such. But we've got your back. Our guide will walk you through everything you need to know.

Entrepreneur vs. ZZP’er

Let’s start off with figuring out what is what.

Being a freelancer or self-employed professional (ZZP’er) in the Netherlands means that you're an independent entrepreneur working for a variety of clients, bearing the full burden of risk and expenses.

The Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK has three primary criteria to determine if you qualify as an entrepreneur:

  • you supply goods or services;
  • you charge a fee for your services;
  • you conduct business regularly with others outside of your circle of friends and family.

If you meet these criteria, it’s time to register with KVK’s Business Register that lists all businesses, legal entities and other organizations that participate in economic transactions in the Netherlands.

How and when to register with KVK?

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.

How to register a sole proprietorship?

Super easy. Barely an inconvenience.

  • Visit the KVK website and log in with a Digital Identification (DigiD) to access the online registration process. If you don't already have one, you can request it via the DigiD website.

  • Fill out the online registration form, making sure to have the following information handy: your trade name (must be unique in your industry), product or service description, client information, business address, and personal details. You can do this in Dutch or English.

  • Schedule an appointment at the KVK office of your choice and bring a valid proof of identity, such as a passport or driver's license.

  • Pay the one-time registration fee of €75, which can be done digitally using your mobile, debit, or credit card when you visit the KVK office to finalize your registration.

  • Register for VAT with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst) if necessary. If you expect to earn more than €20,000 per year, you need to register for VAT.

  • Finally, you'll receive confirmation from KVK that your business is registered. Keep this confirmation in a safe place, as you may need it for various administrative purposes.

How to register a bv?

If you chose bv as your legal structure, you should know it’s a bit trickier than eenmanszaak because you actually cannot set it up yourself. You'll need the help of a civil-law notary, as there are specific legal requirements to meet. Here are the key steps you need to follow:

  • Draft the company's statutes, which is done through an incorporation process that involves a notarial deed.

  • Make a deposit of €0.01 as starting capital, either in cash or in kind.

  • Register your bv with the KVK's Business Register. Your notary can take care of this.

  • Register your bv with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. This can also be handled by your civil-law notary.

Or you can just contact Enty to get started on setting up your bv hassle-free. Our notaries know all about this stuff.

How to get VAT number?

Dutch residents typically obtain a VAT number within 14 days of registering with KVK via a letter from the Tax and Customs Administration.

However, if you're not a resident, Belastingdienst won't automatically issue you a VAT number. Don't worry, though — you just need to fill out an application with the branch of Belastingdienst responsible for foreigners' affairs and provide the necessary documents. This process usually takes up to 2-3 weeks.

Does this mean I need to pay VAT?

Not necessarily! There’s actually a really great VAT exemption scheme you can apply for if you don’t expect your annual turnover to exceed €20,000. You can read about it in detail in our KOR Scheme guide and if you need any help with the application, we've got you covered — just click the link and our professional team can assist you remotely.
Did you like this article?

Related Articles

We use cookies to provide the best
website experience. Learn more.
Accept all cookies
We use cookies to provide the best website experience. Learn more.
Accept all cookies
One-Time Services
© 2020-2023 Entytech OÜ All rights reserved
+372 5911 1088
Contact Us
We accept
Developed with ❤️ by Entytech OÜ and Digirepresent Services OÜ (license № FIU000382)
14772172 Tornimäe tn 5, 10145, Tallinn, Harju maakond Register №16080939