Tax Representation in the Netherlands -4/28

Tax representation & VAT registration:

  • To be able to carry out its activity in the European Union as a company, it is mandatory to obtain an intra-community VAT number in the country of destination of the taxable transactions.

    A foreign company carrying out taxable transactions in the Netherlands must be identifiable, i.e. register with the Dutch tax authorities in order to obtain an intra-Community VAT number and must declare the latter, even in the absence of turnover. In order to be able to register for Dutch VAT, a foreign company must, in certain cases, settle a Tax Representation and so appoint a Tax Representative established in the Netherlands who will be responsible for carrying out the tax formalities incumbent on it.


VAT registration in the Netherlands is mandatory for the following transactions:

  1. Imports of goods into the Netherlands from a third country
  2. Exports from the Netherlands to a country outside the EU
  3. Local purchases of goods followed by local sales to customers located in the Netherlands, whether or not they are subject to VAT
  4. Deliveries in the Netherlands as a foreign entrepreneur with a private buyer or entrepreneur not established in the Netherlands
  5. Intra-Community distance selling of goods to non-taxable persons (B2C individuals) when the annual threshold of €10,000 is exceeded

The foreign company must be registered for VAT with the Dutch tax authorities BEFORE starting its activity.

Failure to register is not to be taken lightly and can generate tax penalties.

The VAT rates applied are as follows:

  1. The standard VAT rate is 21%
  2. The reduced rate is 9%. It applies to certain expenses such as food and beverages, agricultural goods and services, medicines, books, newspapers and magazines.


In case of a Tax Representation, the tax representative of the foreign company takes care of the administrative formalities and the tax declaration of its taxable transactions in the Netherlands:

  1. Vat registration
  2. Filing of periodic VAT returns
  3. Submission and follow-up of refund requests
  4. Submission of Intrastat declarations and intra-Community returns (ECSL)
  5. Communication and correspondence with the local tax authority
  6. Assistance in the event of an audit of the tax administration

Tax representation rules in the Netherlands

The competent office is Belastingdienst/Limburg/kantoor Buitenland. It is responsible for tax matters concerning foreign taxpayers, whether individuals or entrepreneurs. This office is therefore also responsible for processing VAT returns and VAT refund applications submitted by foreign entrepreneurs.

For foreign companies that have taxable transactions in the Netherlands, they are obliged to register for VAT via a tax representative established in the country.

For foreign companies that only have VAT to recover on business expenses, they can use the refund procedure under the 13th Directive by submitting a VAT refund application. Cosmopolite may help as well on this subject.


VAT returns

A VAT return in principle quarterly must be submitted within 2 months of the quarter concerned. It covers all transactions carried out in the Netherlands: taxable sales, intra-Community supplies, exports, local purchases, imports, intra-Community acquisitions.

Even in the case where there are no transactions to be declared, a VAT return must be submitted.


The Intrastat declaration concerns supplies and acquisitions of goods between entrepreneurs entering and leaving the Netherlands. It is submitted to the Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (CBS), which will verify and monitor monthly the amounts of intra-Community transactions carried out by taxable persons on the basis of their VAT returns to determine whether Intrastat declarations need to be submitted.  Taxable persons will be informed by letter during the first month for which the obligation to declare applies.

Intra-Community supply statement (ECSL)

If you make intra-Community supplies of goods from the Netherlands to which the zero rate applies, you must, after the end of each quarter, send the tax authorities a Statement of intra-Community supplies (Opgaaf intra-Community leveringen). If you have appointed a tax representative, he or she will be responsible for transmitting these elements.

This form must indicate the VAT identification number of the customers and, for each customer, the total value of intra-Community supplies made from the Netherlands during the quarter in question. However, if deliveries exceed €50,000 per quarter, declarations become monthly.

If the filing of the various declarations (VAT returns, Intrastats, statements of intra-Community supplies) is not made or made late, fines will be charged for late filing or non-filing and/or late payment interest for late payment or non-payment of VAT.

European VAT rules are multiple and often complex:

If the filing of the various declarations (VAT returns, Intrastats, statements of intra-Community supplies) is not made or made late, fines will be charged for late filing or non-filing and/or late payment interest for late payment or non-payment of VAT.

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