VAT in the Netherlands

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Netherlands VAT

Netherlands VAT is based on the rules set by the EU; this includes the details for Dutch VAT registrations and VAT returns, and other VAT compliance issues. However, the Dutch VAT rate is still set by the local state.

As part of the EU, the Netherlands follows the laws, or VAT Directives, formulated by the European Commission in Brussels.

Netherlands VAT law

The Dutch VAT law is contained within the General Tax Code. It is administered by the Dutch Revenue.

Dutch VAT registration

Foreign companies may register in the Netherlands for VAT without the need to form a local company; this is known as non-resident VAT trading. There is no VAT threshold in the Netherlands for the registration of non-resident traders; a VAT number must be in place before the commencement of taxable supplies.

There are strict rules on the situations where a registration is permitted. Common scenarios which require a Dutch VAT registration include:

  • importing goods into the Netherlands
  • trading commodities and excise goods within Dutch warehouses
  • organising live events, conferences, etc, in the Netherlands
  • holding goods in a warehouse in the Netherlands as stock for resale longer than three months
  • 'supply and install' services over 12 months
  • selling goods from the Netherlands to other EU countries
  • distance selling to private individuals in the Netherlands, e.g. internet retailing.

Registering for Dutch VAT generally takes two to three weeks, although this can vary.

Dutch VAT compliance

There are detailed rules controlling the recording and processing of Dutch transactions. These include guidelines on:

  • Dutch invoice requirements
  • use of the 'reverse charge' procedure
  • foreign currency reporting and translation
  • correcting errors from previous returns
  • credit notes and corrections
  • what accounting records must be maintained.

Dutch VAT rates

The standard VAT rate in the Netherlands is 21%, with  a reduced rate of 6% for foodstuffs, books, passenger transport, hotel accommodation, and other goods and services.

There are many variations to the rates above, including exempt taxable supplies.

Dutch VAT returns

Companies with a Dutch VAT number must submit periodic returns detailing all taxable supplies (sales) and inputs (costs). VAT returns can be submitted monthly, quarterly or annually, depending on the amount of VAT payable. Non-established businesses must file returns and pay over any VAT due two months following the reporting period. Companies with appointed fiscal representatives are usually required to file returns on a monthly basis, due one month following the reporting period.

Dutch fiscal representative and trading licenses

There are a number of schemes to facilitate imports and to allow the wholesale trading of certain - often excise (energy and petroleum) - goods. To take advantage of these schemes, non-Dutch traders must obtain specific licences which require the appointment of a local fiscal representative.

Dutch Intrastat and EC sales lists

In addition to VAT returns in the Netherlands, companies may be required to submit additional statistical information.

The Dutch Intrastat, submitted to the Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (CBS), lists sales (dispatches) and purchases (acquisitions), within the EU region, must be filed monthly once the annual threshold is exceeded. Dutch EC sales lists, or a recapitulative statement, details customers and the values of sales made to them. It should be submitted on a quarterly basis, and there is no threshold for reporting.

Dutch VAT refunds

If a foreign company is providing taxable supplies in the Netherlands but is unable to obtain a Dutch VAT number, or is incurring Dutch VAT on local goods or services, then Dutch VAT may be recovered through a VAT reclaim.

VAT refund applications are made through the tax authorities of the applicant’s home country.

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