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Business / self-employed in the Netherlands

Belastingconsultancy MVE can prepare and file the applicable tax forms for self-employed without staff (‘ZZP’) or sole proprietorship (‘eenmanszaak’), partnership under common firm (‘VOF’) or partnership for certain professions (‘maatschap’) and freelancers. Beside that we also give tax advice or and monitor the applicable deadlines. Belastingconsultancy MVE was set up in 2006 and has grown to a fully licensed tax firm. Our qualified tax advisors (academic degree) have a solid background and are interested in the client. Permanent education is part of our policy, which means that our advisors stay up to date. We are specialized in assisting foreigners / non-residents and foreign businesses who want to work and do business in the Netherlands.  Our approach is very personal and direct. Lines are short and we do all we can to find a solution around the client’s needs.

Self-employed without staff (‘zelfstandige zonder personeel’)
The terms ´freelance´ and ´zzp´ are used interchangeably with little difference between the two. More and more people are working as freelancers. While freelance work used to be associated with journalists and photographers for example, these days freelancers also work in sectors such as construction and IT. If you go freelance, you should pay extra attention to your situation, because the term ‘freelancer’ is not a definition recognized by law. Freelancers operate somewhere in between being self-employed and being in paid employment. Below we will use the terms self employed and freelancers.

Self-employed deduction (‘zelfstandigenaftrek’)
If you are self employed and spend more then 1,225 hours per year on your business then you are able to claim the self employed deduction. If you started your business more than 5 years ago you must also spend more than 50% of your working hours on your business. This is relevant for entrepreneurs who also work as an employee besides the business. So in the start period of the business this is not applicable. The amount of the deduction depends on the (net) profit you made with your business. You will find the amounts in the table below. For entrepreneurs older than 65 the amounts must be reduced with 50%.

If you were not self employed within five years before the current year and you didn’t use the self employed deduction in more than two years then the self employed deduction will be raised with the startersdeduction. In 2022 the self employed deduction is a fixed amount of € 6,310 but with a maximum of the taxable profit of the business. The deduction therefore can’t lead to a loss.

Registration with the Chamber of Commerce (‘Kamer van Koophandel’)
In general everybody who is working self employed in the Netherlands has to register in the trade register of the Chamber of Commerce. When you want to start working as a freelancer the first step is to go to the Chamber of Commerce and register yourself. Once registered you will automatically get a VAT/BTW number from the tax authorities. So you don’t have to register twice.

Business profits
If the tax authorities consider you to be self-employed, you can declare your freelance income as business profits. You may be eligible for self-employed persons’ tax allowances. Income from work which can’t be considered either as salary or as business profits is known as secondary income (freelancing as a secondary activity). This income is known as income from other activities.

Every business must file a tax return periodically for one or more taxes. For which tax a tax return must be filed is determined by the tax authorities after the business is registered with the Chamber of Commerce. For the corporate tax a tax return must be filed every year. For the VAT/BTW a return must be filed every quarter or year which depends on the size of the business.

VAT/BTW return
A periodic VAT/BTW return must be filed online to declare the VAT/BTW that your business has to pay in the Netherlands or that you want to reclaim. To be able to file a VAT/BTW return your business must be registered with the Dutch tax authorities and have a VAT/BTW number. You have to file a VAT/BTW return for all your activities in the Netherlands, even if you do not need to pay turnover tax for a certain tax period. Belastingconsultancy MVE can assist you with preparation and filing of the VAT/BTW returns and also with other accounting requirements like year end accounts and corporate income tax returns.

After registration the tax authorities will inform you over which period a VAT/BTW return must be filed. The period can be a month, a quarter or a year. At the start of the activities in the Netherlands the first VAT/BTW return can have a different period.

Creating invoices
To make some money it’s important that you send invoices for the work you did. This must be done before the 15th of the month after the service has been provided by you. An invoice must meet certain requirements to be accepted by the tax authorities. VAT/BTW is only deductible if it is mentioned on an invoice which is made according to the rules. So this is important for you and your client. To read more about creating invoices, you can find more information near Questions in the menu.

If you are working as a freelancer you must keep an administration, file VAT/BTW returns and file the annual income tax return. This may not be easy, so we can help you with that. self-employed without staff (ZZP) or sole proprietorship (‘eenmanszaak’), freelancers, partnership under common firm (‘VOF’) or partnership for certain professions (‘maatschap’).

To read more about becoming self employed in the Netherlands, you can find more information near Questions in the menu.

Do you want more information, do you have specific questions or do you want to make an appointment, please contact us. This is possible by phone, e-mail or the contact form (near Contact).


Belastingconsultancy MVE is registered and a member of the (Dutch) Register of Tax Advisors ‘Register Belastingadviseurs’ (RB), this is a brand of quality and professional knowledge of the Dutch Tax system and laws.


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