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VAT in the Netherlands for foreign entrepreneurs

Updated on 19 February 2024

Are you a business owner who is based in a country other than the Netherlands? Do you supply services or goods to the Netherlands? If so, you might be classed as a foreign entrepreneur in terms of VAT. You may need to file a turnover tax return in the Netherlands and you might also need to pay VAT in the Netherlands. ICS can provide you with more information about the latest VAT regulations in the Netherlands as well as calculating VAT, filing VAT returns, paying VAT, and how to deduct or claim a VAT refund.

VAT registration for foreign business owners

In certain cases, a foreign entrepreneur who has to cope with Dutch VAT can opt to register for VAT with the Dutch tax authorities.

This is a possibility, for example, if a businessman does not want to offer bank guarantees, as is a requirement for General Tax Representation. Another benefit is the fact that the latter is more straightforward to arrange than a General Tax Representation permit.

There are certain disadvantages for a non-Dutch national to register for Dutch VAT. This is because foreign entrepreneurs are not entitled to a permit under Article 23 (VAT reverse charge) because it is only for people who live in the Netherlands as an entrepreneur or are established there. Since the VAT cannot be transferred it is a given that it must always be paid.

VAT on foreign receipts

First of all: all expenses must be made for your business can be deducted. If so: you can deduct the costs.

For VAT: on hotels outside the NL, VAT of the country of the hotel will be applicable.
So for example you stay in a hotel in Germany, German VAT will be applicable. You can’t deduct this German VAT in your Dutch VAT declaration. There are possibilities to ask this VAT back with the German tax authorities, but a threshold applies and it is a time-consuming process.

This is therefore only interesting when it concerns large amounts. The costs of the hotel can of course be deducted from the Dutch profit. For airline tickets no VAT is applicable. You can deduct the costs of the profit (if it is a trip for business).

It would good to discuss with your suppliers when it is possible that suppliers do not charge you VAT. If you have an active VAT number in the Netherlands, they can verify that with the EU Vies register. And see that they are allowed to invoice you at 0% reversed charge. For other countries outside the EU, other rules apply.

How to apply for a Dutch VAT number

When foreign entrepreneurs want to apply for a Dutch VAT number, they only have to submit a few documents, but they must first complete an application form from the tax authorities. As soon as the Dutch VAT number is supplied, a foreign entrepreneur is legally able to trade in any country within the European Union.

Adequate VAT administration is needed for this and this is where a company such as ICS can provide valuable assistance. An international company can opt to have this administration undertaken by an administration office based in the Netherlands. The Tax and Customs Administration carries out strict checks, especially when reclaiming VAT so it is extremely important to ensure that the correct paperwork is always in order. If the administration is outsourced to an accounting office, this office is not responsible for the activities with which the foreign company is involved in the Netherlands.

Do you want assistance with applying for a VAT Registration for foreign entrepreneurs? The experienced VAT specialists at ICS will help you on your way.

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