Solving debts - the vereniging (association)
- Sergej Schuurman
- The basis
- 10 May 2023
- Edited 8 Aug 2022
- 2 min
- In trouble
How you solve your debts depends on your legal structure. This article tells you what to do if you have a vereniging (association). We start by explaining how liability works in an association. You do not have to solve your problems alone. The next step tells you who can help you.
Liability for debts
An association with full legal capacity is a legal entity (a rechtspersoon in Dutch). This means that as a director or board member, in principle you are not liable for its debts. There are some exceptions to this rule. Directors are liable if there has been misconduct that has led to bankruptcy, or if the association has not been registered with the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK Business Register yet. Report changes in the board of directors to KVK within 8 days. Directors who have left but who have not been deregistered from the Business Register remain liable. Read more about directors' liability.
Directors of an association with limited legal capacity are liable with their private capital for debts and obligations if the association has not been registered with the KVK Business Register. You can limit your liability by registering your association with the Business Register. Then you and the association are equally liable.
Solutions for business debts
If you have business debts, there are several options:
Payment agreement and conferring
Does your association owe the government money? See if you can come to a payment agreement for the association. If your association cannot pay its taxes, contact the Dutch Tax Administration straightaway. Does your association have loans or credits from a bank, other financiers, or suppliers? Confer with your creditors and discuss how to solve your association's debts.
Homologation private agreement in bankruptcy Act (WHOA)
Is your association in danger of going bankrupt? You can try to avoid bankruptcy using the homologation private agreement in bankruptcy Act (Wet Homologatie Onderhands Akkoord, WHOA). You come to an arrangement with your creditors and have it approved by the court. The WHOA allows you to come to an arrangement even if not all creditors agree.
If you make use of the WHOA, you can apply for a TOA credit of up to 100,000 euros. This is a loan for a restart, expansion, or adjustment of your association.
Is your association temporarily unable to pay its debts? You can file for a suspension of payment for your association from the court. Your association will not have to pay its creditors for a period of time. In most cases, suspension of payment ends in bankruptcy.
If you can no longer come to a payment arrangement with your creditors, the court can declare your association bankrupt. The court appoints a curator, who will take over all the association's decisions and money matters. Before the court decides, a petition for bankruptcy must be made. The association can do this itself, but a creditor may also file for bankruptcy.
Note: if a creditor files for your association's bankruptcy, you may try to avoid it by preparing a WHOA agreement.
Options for private debts
Did you co-sign on a loan for your association? And are you now in private debt? There are several options for solving your debts:
You can apply for an amicable settlement to your municipality. An amicable settlement means that you look for a way out of your debts with support from municipal debt counselling. For example, by payment agreements, refinancing, or debt mediation. After the settlement trajectory, you will be free of debt.
Natural Persons Debt Restructuring Act (Wsnp)
If the amicable settlement fails, you can appeal to the district court for admission to the Natural Persons Debt Restructuring Act (Wet schuldsanering natuurlijke personen, Wsnp). In most cases, you will have to end your association. After debt restructuring, you will be free of debt.
You do not have to solve your debts on your own. In the next step, we tell you where to turn for help. Use the dealing with debts step-by-step plan.