How to file your VAT return in the Netherlands

6 minutes reading time
Last update on 22-02-2023

Entrepreneurs in the Netherlands have to file VAT returns (Value Added Tax), or in Dutch; btw-aangifte, with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. You can do this either monthly, quarterly or on a yearly basis. However, most entrepreneurs choose to do this quarterly. Read on this page who has to submit a VAT return, when and how to submit it, what to do when you made a mistake and find out if you are eligible for the Small Businesses Scheme (KOR). 

VAT return guide, consisting:

Who has to submit a VAT return?

If your business is registered with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce and if you have been issued with a VAT identification and VAT number, you have to file VAT returns. If you must file a VAT return, the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration will send you a letter. However, there are a few exceptions. For example, if your services are exempt from VAT (childcare, funeral directors, and so on), you can’t charge VAT. Deduction of paid VAT is normally not possible then. As a non-resident business in the Netherlands you may also have to file a VAT return. Get more information and advice from our professional bookkeepers and accountants.

When to file VAT return?

The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration will notify you how often and when to file a VAT return. This can be either monthly, quarterly or yearly. If you want to file the tax returns on a monthly or yearly basis, it is possible to arrange this in certain conditions. Send a letter to the Tax and Customs Administration to arrange this. 

Do you file a tax return on a quarterly or monthly basis? Then you file your tax return on the last day of the month. Do you file a tax return every year? Then you have to file your tax return on 1st of April of the following year. It is important to submit your VAT return on time and without any mistakes to avoid a fine by the Tax Authorities (Belastingdienst). 

How to file VAT return

Nowadays the VAT return is done completely digitally. This can be done in the following ways:

  • Or with your own tax return or administration software. The software must be suitable for Standard Business Reporting
  • On the website at ‘Login for entrepreneurs’

You can also have someone else do the VAT return, for example your bookkeeper. For non-native Dutch people it can be difficult to keep up with all the rules and deadlines. That is why we advise hiring an accountant or bookkeeper who is fluent in English and Dutch and also has knowledge of the Dutch tax rules. 

Filing my first VAT return

First you have to register your company with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce or with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (this one is for non-resident companies). After registering your company, the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration will send you more information about your liability for VAT. They will give you a VAT identification number and a VAT number to use for your dealings with the Tax Administration. Also, you will receive a letter in which you find information about how and when to file your VAT returns. You might have to file your first VAT return on paper. 

Recover VAT return mistakes

The filing of VAT returns is often postponed to the last minute because many entrepreneurs are simply too busy and overlook this, or because this is not exactly their favorite activity. By rushing to do the VAT return last minute, sometimes mistakes are made. If you have made a mistake with your VAT return, you are obliged to report this to the Tax Authorities. If the Tax and Customs Administration finds out during an inspection that you have made a mistake and as a result have paid insufficient tax, you can be fined for this. So try to avoid this. 

If you have forgotten an invoice with your VAT return, this is not a problem as long as you report it on time. You can often correct this immediately without any problems, or you can correct this with the next VAT return. Of course, this also applies if you have made a mistake, causing you to pay too much instead of too little tax. Settlement of an error in the next VAT return is only possible if it concerns an amount of less than € 1000.

Another option is to correct the error via a supplementary declaration. Supplementary VAT declarations (or: supplementary turnover tax) are corrections applied to previous declarations.

Small Businesses Scheme (KOR)

The Small Business Scheme, also known as ‘kleineondernemersregeling’ (KOR), is a tax provision that many self-employed persons or small businesses can claim. The KOR was created to reduce the burden on entrepreneurs who only generate a small income. This relates to both financial and administrative aspects. 

If you have a maximum turnover of € 20,000 in a calendar year, you may qualify for the Small Businesses Scheme. If this is the case, you do not charge any VAT to your customers, and you do not have to pay VAT to the Tax Authorities. On the other hand, you can’t deduct the VAT on business costs. So, with a few exceptions, you don’t need to file a VAT return.  

To be eligible for the KOR: 

  • You comply with all administrative obligations with regard to VAT
  • Your company has no legal personality. The rule therefore relates to a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a general partnership (VOF) or a smaller private company (BV).
  • The company is established in the Netherlands or has a permanent establishment in the Netherlands.
  • Your maximum turnover per calendar year is € 20,000.

Special VAT arrangements

In the Netherlands, there are multiple special VAT arrangements. We listed the most common arrangements below: 

  • Profit margin arrangement: this arrangement is for people who deal in second-hand goods. You only have to pay VAT on the difference between the sale price and the purchase price.
  • Travel agency arrangement: this arrangement is for travel services. You pay VAT on the profit margin for travel services, instead of paying VAT on the total price.
  • Reverse-charge arrangement: with this arrangement you do not charge VAT, but reverse-charge it to your buyer.

VAT return for international trade

Do you provide services abroad? Or do you purchase services from abroad? In that case, use the Tax and Customs Administration's Services in and out of abroad tool. This shows you who has to declare the VAT on these services: you or your supplier. It also shows you in which country this should be. If you provide goods abroad or purchase goods from abroad, you can use the Delivery of goods abroad tool.

Find an English-speaking bookkeeper or accountant near you

Do you need help finding a registered accountant in the Netherlands who will assist you with your tax returns, and who will do the complete bookkeeping? Just fill out the form below and get in touch with three certified bookkeepers or accountants in your area.

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