eHerkenning: 7 questions of starters

If you start a business, you will eventually come across the term ‘eHerkenning’. This is a type of digital ID for entrepreneurs. But not every entrepreneur needs one. In this article, you can read questions that starters frequently ask about eHerkenning. Find out if you need it, what you can do with it, and how you can get it.

eHerkenning is important for entrepreneurs who have a legal structure other than a sole proprietorship (‘eenmanszaak’), such as a private limited company (bv) or a general partnership (vof). When you are a self-employed professional without staff, you can arrange most things for your business with your DigiD.

1. Do I need eHerkenning and what for?

eHerkenning is a way to to log in safely to (government) organisations, such as the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (‘Belastingdienst’) and municipalities. For filing your VAT return, for example. Or to file payroll taxes if you have staff. You can also file corporate income tax if you have a bv.

If you have a sole proprietorship, you can log in with DigiD or eHerkenning to file income taxes.

Do you want to apply for a subsidy or do you need a permit? You also log in with eHerkenning to do that. And if you do business internationally, eHerkenning allows you to log in to various (European) customs portals. This means you only need one set of login details to do business with multiple organisations.

2. How do I apply for eHerkenning?

You can apply for eHerkenning at one of the 6 approved suppliers who comply with strict standards. eHerkenning has 4 different levels of assurance. The higher the level, the more data you need to submit. You can usually get an eHerkenning within a few days. If you need to submit many details, then it can take longer. Sometimes you need a KVK Extract from the KVK Business Register that is no older than 14 days. Check if your supplier needs a KVK Extract.

You must activate and test your eHerkenning. Apply for it in time. That way you ensure that you are ready for your first tax return and you avoid a fine.

Do you have staff that also needs to log in with eHerkenning? Then you need to apply for eHerkenning for each staff member separately. For each application you can determine the authorisations. This means that you can choose what staff members can and cannot do with it.  

3. Which level of assurance do I need?

On the website of the various organisations you can find which level you need. Beforehand, think about what you need the eHerkenning for. If you need a higher level in the future, you will need to purchase it again. There are 4 levels:

  • EH2
  • EH2+
  • EH3
  • EH4

Most organisations require level EH3. With level EH2, you log in with a username and a password. The higher levels have extra security measures, such as two-factor authentication.

4. What does eHerkenning cost?

eHerkenning is not a service provided by the government; you buy it from a supplier. The costs differ per supplier and assurance level. You can also purchase eHerkenning for 3 or 5 years. Then the costs per year are lower. Because these are business-related costs, you can subtract them from your income tax return

5. What is the special ‘Belastingdienst EH3’?

If you only want to log into the Tax Administration, then you can purchase the special ‘Belastingdienst EH3’. This costs no more than €25 a year and you can get a €24.20 subsidy for it a year. You can apply for this subsidy at the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO, in Dutch).  

6. Do I need eHerkenning at

At KVK you need to log in with eHerkenning to file your financial statements. Private limited companies (bvs), public limited companies (nvs), and cooperatives need to do this. Sole proprietorships (‘eenmanszaken’) do not need to file their financial statements.

7. What is eIDAS?

When you read about eHerkenning, you will often see the term eIDAS: Electronic Identification And Trust Services. These are agreements between countries from the European Economic Area (EEA) about the identification of people. You can do so offline with a passport or ID card. Online we use DigiD or eHerkenning. Due to eIDAS agreements, you can also log into government organisations of other EEA countries. To do so, you will need eHerkenning level EH3 or higher.

Want to know more about taxes for startups? Read this article for all the information you need to get your business off to a good start.