VAT Guide for Freelancers in Netherlands

The Netherland's VAT policy is based on the "destination principle" of the European Union VAT system. This means that VAT, or belasting toegevoegde waarde in Dutch, is payable to the country's government where the product or services are consumed, regardless of where you're supplying them from.

If you have clients in the Netherlands, you have to comply with Dutch VAT rules. VAT is administered by the Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst Nederland), the tax collection and customs service of the government of the Netherlands.

The standard VAT rate in the Netherlands is 21%, with reduced rates of 9% and 0% applied based on the products you sell. Read on to see legal obligations you have when working as a freelancer in Netherlands.

Summary of VAT rate in the Netherlands for freelancers

The Dutch government levies three different VAT rates, and freelancers must charge the amount that applies to their products and services.

  • The Standard Rate - Unless the items or services you offer are in the reduced rate or zero-rated category, you should charge the standard VAT rate of 21%.
  • The Reduced Rate - The reduced rate of 9% applies to items such as some food and soft drinks, water supplies, certain pharmaceutical products and medical equipment for disabled persons, newspapers and periodicals, admission to cultural events and amusement parks, certain renovation and repair of private dwellings, certain cleaning of private households, hotel accommodation, restaurants (excluding alcoholic beverages), admission to sports events, use of sports facilities, shoes and leather goods, clothing and household linen, cut flowers and plants for decorative use and food production, some works of art, collector's items and antiques, and so on.
  • The Zero Rate - When items are zero-rated, they are still VAT-taxable, but the rate of VAT you must charge your consumers is 0%. This rate applies to the taxation of gold coins, intra-community and international passenger transport by air and sea, and so on. Although there are no charges on zero rates, you should record sales of goods and services and create a report based on your returns.

 

It is mandatory to charge VAT when invoicing your clients in the Netherlands. There are, however, some exceptions: if you teach educational courses or provide educational training, work in medical services and products, etc. You can find an extensive list of exempted professions, goods, and services here (in Dutch).

When are you obliged to register for VAT in the Netherlands as a freelancer

There is no threshold for VAT registration for freelancers in the Netherlands. Therefore, as long as you have customers and business activity in the country, you are liable to charge VAT. 

Non-residents of the Netherlands can trade in the country without establishing a local company there. However, individuals registered in the EU and distance-selling goods to the Netherlands do have a registration threshold of €100,000. Once their annual turnover exceeds this amount, they must register for VAT.

You can click here for more information on when to register for VAT in the Netherlands. 

How to register for VAT in the Netherlands for the first time as a freelancer

To register for VAT, you must first register your freelance activity with The Kamer van Koophandel (KvK), the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. The Trade Register of the Commercial Chamber will then transfer your information to the tax authorities to register for VAT. The process takes around five days, and you will then receive your VAT number. You are liable to pay VAT to the government starting from the date you register.

Expat freelancers supplying goods or services in the Netherlands must also register with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce.

You can also register using the Mini One-Stop-Shop, an EU-wide tax system that allows you to consolidate all of your EU VAT in one single tax return. This scheme is optional but convenient and especially useful if you have customers in multiple countries within the EU, including the Netherlands. MOSS allows you to avoid registering in each Member State of consumption. 

Legal obligations for VAT registered freelancers in the Netherlands

Registering for VAT is only part of the process; in order to to be fully VAT compliant, you must:

  • Charge the correct VAT rate
  • Pay any VAT owed to the tax office
  • File VAT returns
  • Maintain VAT invoices and a VAT account


VAT invoices are the official record of how much tax you charge and collect, and therefore the official proof of how much tax you owe the government. You must make sure to include the following in your Netherlands VAT invoices:

  • Your business name and address
  • Your business VAT number
  • Invoice date
  • Invoice sequencing number
  • Description of the goods or services
  • Rate of VAT applied to each item
  • Total amount including VAT

 

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Keeping the invoice records doesn't sound like fun at all, especially when the invoices are stored all over the place and you have to deal with every single admin task by yourself. Sign up for Xolo Go, send invoices in a click with VAT added automatically and forget the pains of organizing everything because you'll have yourself a dashboard and business bank account to keep track of the invoices and your expenses easily.

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