Going Dutch … but how about taxes and accounting?

The Netherlands annually receives thousands of people who want to study, work and live here. Not only to get acquainted with our culture, history and open society, but also to piggyback on our open economy and great business opportunities. The new international employee and entrepreneur is often young (at heart), well-educated, digitally skilled and, above all, fast. Fast thinkers and movers, who don’t want to be held back by rules they don’t understand.

Cross-border tax and accounting issues are complex and often overlooked at the start of any new business. Trouble is compounded by language barriers, unfamiliarity with local regulations, delivery times and deadlines. As Alfred Neuman once said: “Today, it takes more brains and effort to make out the income tax form than it does to make the income.”

As an example, people who already have an employment contract with a company based outside the Netherlands often think that they can easily start working here as a freelancer and continue working for their employer. Although there are certainly possibilities for this, there are also snags to this set-up.

In this new era of internationalization and cross-border entrepreneurial engagement, it would be of great help if taxes and accounting were made easy and understandable. Unfortunately, our tax and accounting regulatory framework lags behind in this respect. It requires knowledge and experience to properly follow tax legislation and accounting rules in the Netherlands. Certainly, as an international employee or international employer, or as an independent entrepreneur, it’s wise to have your taxes and accounting figured out. This prevents a lot of hassle afterwards.

Self-employment is popular in the Netherlands. It offers the freedom to focus on what you are good at. From online shops to medical specialists, there are people in all professions and walks of life who like to take their own responsibility and link great ambitions with individual entrepreneurship.

Once you have decided that you want to start your own company, the question arises, how? As a freelancer, or your own private company? Dutch law involves many rules that you must adhere to, also with regard to taxation and administration. And they are sometimes quite complex: value added tax, corporate tax, income tax, the 30% rule, migration forms, tax deductions, annual accounts, preliminary tax assessments, … I could go on. In order to comply with the rules and reduce your liability, it makes sense to get acquainted with the Dutch tax system. Don’t make the same mistakes as others have done before you, and ask a tax consultant for advice.

Christien Kraaijeveld,
Cappon Tax Consultants