eHerkenning: What starters need to know

If you start a business in the Netherlands, 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). For example, 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 log in safely to (government) organisations, such as the Netherlands Tax 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.

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.

eHerkenning on

On, you have to log in with eHerkenning to file your financial statements. BVs, nvs and cooperatives, among others, have to do this. Sole proprietorships do not have to file financial statements.

Good to know: if you have a sole proprietorship, you can log into the Tax Administration website with DigiD or eHerkenning to file your VAT returns.

2. How do I apply for eHerkenning?

You can apply for eHerkenning at one of the 6 approved suppliers who comply with strict standards. You must be registered in the KVK Business Register to apply. 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 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.

3. Which level of assurance do I need?

You can find out which level you need on the websites of the various organisations. 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 all levels of eHerkenning, you must log in with 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. This can be between €25 and €50 per year. 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 deduct them from your income tax return

5. How do I arrange eHerkenning for staff?

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

6. What is the special ‘Belastingdienst EH3’?

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

7. What is eIDAS?

When you read about eHerkenning, you will often see the term eIDAS: Electronic Identification And Trust Services. eIDAS allows citizens and companies in the European Economic Area (EEA) to easily and securely conduct business online with government organisations.  You will need eHerkenning level EH3 or higher.