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Freelancing Netherlands

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MFFA Tax Advice

Freelancing Netherlands – Self employment

Working as an independent self-employed professional in the Netherlands is getting more and more popular. Although this might seem the perfect thing to do, it also implies other sets of rules to take into account and to comply with. Please find below an overview of important things to consider as a freelancer in the Netherlands separated into the two usual business forms relevant for freelancers.


Self employment Netherlands – Independent contractors

Self-employed professionals (“zelfstandigen zonder personeel, zzp-er”), i.e. freelancers or independent contractors, qualifying as entrepreneurs can choose to use a sole proprietorship (“eenmanszaak”) to perform their activities. In essence, the “eenmanszaak” is a way for an individual to present itself as a business to the outside world without setting up a legal entity. The individual remains fully liable in private for all the actions he or she performs through the “eenmanszaak”.

Not every individual performing activities qualifies as an entrepreneur. If you perform activities occasionally or only for family and friends your activities will most likely qualify as a hobby. It may also be the case that due to a lack of independence, e.g. principal acts de facto as employer, you will be qualified as an employee.


Entrepreneur conditions / freelancing Netherlands conditions

  • Intention to make reasonable profit
  • Independence
  • Availability of capital to invest (depending on the nature of the business)
  • Time spend on business activities
  • Amount of principals
  • Appearance to the outside world (e.g. logo, website, marketing, business cards, company paper)
  • Entrepreneurial risks (e.g. credit risk, investment risk)

Qualifying as entrepreneur also means you need to register your business at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. In addition, Dutch Tax Law provides for a number of beneficial facilities available to entrepreneurs only, like the start-up allowance, self-employed allowance and SME-allowance. These facilities are applicable for entrepreneurs that spend at least 1225 hours per year on their business.


Administrative requirements – Freelancing Netherlands

The following administrative requirements are important if you are a Dutch freelancer / Independent contractor:

  • Keep a proper administration of e.g. incoming and outgoing invoices.
  • Record the hours spend on your business.
  • Invoice requirements depending on the business and customer.
  • Personal income tax return annually to declare your business profit and claim your allowances.
  • Value added tax return on a monthly or quarterly basis depending on your annual turnover.

A registration at the Dutch chamber of commerce is all you need to set up a Dutch eenmanszaak. As a foreigner you need to register at the local municipality first to get a BSN number.


Limited liability company (Dutch BV)

Another way to perform your business activities is by working for your own limited liability company, or BV in Dutch. A Dutch BV is a privately held limited liability company with its capital divided into shares. As a BV has legal personality the liability of its shareholder(s) is generally limited to the capital contributions. As of 2012 new rules apply to the Dutch BV, making it more flexible to tailor it to specific needs. For instance, there is no minimum capital requirement anymore.

A BV should be considered when:

  • Separate business from personal liability.
  • You want to apply for the 30% ruling in combination with the BV
  • To the outside world a BV looks better or the client insists that they work with only a legal entity (Dutch BV)
  • More parties are involved as shareholder

Administrative requirements Dutch BV

  • Keep a proper administration of e.g. incoming and outgoing invoices.
  • Invoice requirements depending on the business and customer.
  • Personal income tax return annually to declare your personal income.
  • Value added tax return on a monthly or quarterly basis depending on the annual turnover of BV.
  • Corporate income tax return for BV.
  • File wage tax returns.
  • Prepare and file an annual report for BV.

The BV needs to be incorporated by the notary and registered at the chamber of commerce and the tax authorities.

Concluding Freelancing in the Netherlands

Depending on the circumstances and personal preferences Dutch freelancers can choose between a sole proprietorship and a Dutch BV to perform business activities in the Netherlands. Depending on the circumstances certain tax benefits will be available. Contact MFFA Tax Advice to discuss your opportunities.

See also our article starting a business in the Netherlands as a freelancer.

Specialist in: Expats | International Companies , MFFA Belastingadvies | Tax Advice
Jeroen Mijlof graduated in economics and tax law at the University of Groningen. He has + 15 years’ experience in National and International Tax Law for both individuals and companies. Before MFFA he worked at the Dutch tax authorities, KPMG Meijburg and RSM International Tax Services .