Turnover tax (VAT) for businesses outside of the Netherlands
If your company is established in a country other than the Netherlands, but it does business in the Netherlands, you have to deal with the rules and regulations governing Dutch turnover tax (VAT). Different rules apply if your company has its registered office in the Netherlands.
VAT and the provision of goods and services in the Netherlands
If you provide goods or services in the Netherlands to a Dutch company, you are in principle required to pay Dutch VAT (belasting toegevoegde waarde, btw). However, this VAT liability is often transferred to the customer purchasing the goods or service. In other words, your customer – not you – will have to pay VAT, in which case, your invoice must not include VAT. This VAT liability transfer rule only applies if the customer is a business or legal person with its registered office in the Netherlands. If this is not the case, you will have to file a VAT return in the Netherlands.
VAT when purchasing goods in the Netherlands
If you purchase goods from a supplier in the Netherlands and the goods remain in the Netherlands, the supplier will charge you VAT. If you use these goods for commercial purposes, you can submit a VAT refund request to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst). To do so, you must be in possession of a properly prepared invoice which states the amount of VAT.
If you purchase goods and transport them to another EU Member State (e.g. to your own company), the supplier is undertaking an intra-Community delivery, for which the 0% VAT rate applies. Accordingly, the supplier will not charge you VAT.
Transporting the goods to a destination outside of the EU is considered to be exporting the goods. Accordingly, the 0% VAT rate is levied. This rate only applies if your accounts demonstrate that the goods were in fact exported.
Filing the turnover tax return
If you are liable to file a VAT return in the Netherlands, you must be registered with the International Office (Kantoor Buitenland) of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. You will then receive tax return forms periodically on which you can deduct the VAT you have paid. If you undertake the intra Community supply of goods and services from within the Netherlands, you must submit a Declaration of Intra-Community Supplies (Opgaaf intracommunautaire leveringen) at the end of every quarter. This declaration form can be obtained from the International Office of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.
VAT refund request
If you are not liable to file a VAT tax return in the Netherlands, but you want to claim a refund of Dutch VAT, the required course of action depends on the country where your company has its registered office. If your company has its registered office in an EU Member State, you must submit the refund request to the tax and customs administration in your own country. To be eligible, you do not have to be registered in the Netherlands. If your company has its registered office in a country outside of the EU, you can submit the refund request in the Netherlands. To be eligible, you must first register with the International Office of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.
Temporary payment deferral option
You can request a deferral of payment of VAT if the process in another Member State for claiming a refund is delayed.
The website of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration includes further information in English about VAT with respect to the intra-Community supply of goods and services, import/export, immovable property and online services. The site also includes further information about VAT rates and the conditions for a VAT refund.