Everything you need to know about the VAT ID number

When you start a business, you are likely to be given a VAT identification number (btw-id). This is a unique number from the Tax Administration. You have to mention when contacting customers and suppliers. Find answers to all your questions about the VAT ID number here.

Officially, the VAT number is called VAT identification number, or VAT ID number. But it is sometimes just called VAT number. You may also get a VAT tax number (omzetbelastingnummer). You use this number when contacting the Tax Administration.

What is a VAT identification number?

The VAT identification number is a series of numbers and letters that is different for every entrepreneur. A Dutch VAT number starts with NL, then comes 9 digits, the letter B, and then another 2 digits. Example: NL123456789B01.

Your VAT number shows customers and suppliers that you are a VAT-registered entrepreneur. Registered for VAT means that you have to charge VAT on your products or services. You must file a VAT return and pay any VAT due to the Tax Administration.

VAT return or turnover tax return

The terms VAT return (btw-aangifte) and turnover tax return (aangifte omzetbelasting) mean the same thing. On the KVK website and Business.gov.nl, it is usually called VAT return. Most entrepreneurs must file a VAT return every 3 months.

You must display your VAT ID number when you have written contact with your customers. For example, on your invoices and your website.

Other invoice requirements

Specific invoicing requirements sometimes apply. For example, for entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry, travel agencies, public transport, and taxi transport. In this case, you do not always have to put VAT ID on your invoice.

Does every entrepreneur get a VAT number?

When you register with KVK, the KVK passes this information to the Tax Administration. The Tax Administration checks if you are a VAT entrepreneur. If so, you will be given a VAT ID number.

Some sectors, goods, and activities are exempt from VAT. If this applies to your business, you will not be given a VAT ID number. In that case, you do not have to charge VAT and do not submit a VAT return. But you cannot reclaim VAT either.

How can I get my VAT numbers?

Which VAT numbers you get and how you get them depends on the legal structure of the business. Most starters begin as a sole proprietorship.

VAT numbers for a sole proprietorship

If you register your sole proprietorship at KVK, you will receive 2 letters from the Tax Administration within 2 weeks. One letter will give you your VAT ID number, and the other your VAT tax number.

VAT numbers for other legal entities

If your company has a legal form other than sole proprietorship, things work a little differently. A private limited company (bv), for example, is set up through a civil-law notary. They will register the bv in the Business Register. The Tax Administration is also notified of this and within 2 weeks you will receive a letter with your VAT ID number.

If you register a vof, maatschap or another legal form, you will receive a letter from the Tax Administration with your VAT ID number within 2 weeks.

Second business activity

Do you already have a business and are you starting a new activity? And does the new activity fall in a different VAT rate bracket? You do not have to apply for a second VAT identification number from the Tax Administration. You can if you want to, but it means keeping a second set of business records and filing a second VAT return every quarter. Discuss with your accountant if this is a good idea. 

Remember to report your new activities to KVK.

Get a VAT number without registering at KVK

In principle, all businesses and legal entities in the Netherlands need to register in the Dutch Business Register. However, there are a few exceptions:

  • undisclosed partnerships without an enterprise
  • informal associations
  • sole proprietorships with activities that do not qualify as business according to KVK
  • foreign legal forms without a branch in the Netherlands
  • open-end funds on joint account

Does one of these situations apply to you? Contact the Tax Administration and apply for a VAT ID number through the form ‘Opgaaf startende onderneming’ (Declaration Start-up Firm, in Dutch).

Your tax numbers when closing your business

If you stop your business, you have to deregister from KVK. KVK informs the Tax Administration that you deregistered your company. It may take some time for the Tax Administration to process your deregistration. Sometimes you still have to file a VAT return, even though you have already stopped your activities. In the step-by-step checklist for ending your business, you can read exactly what you need to do.

Frequently asked questions

Have you lost your VAT ID number? Log in to the tax portal for entrepreneurs, Mijn Belastingdienst Zakelijk, which is where you also submit your VAT return. There you will find the number.

You can only apply for a VAT number for an association or foundation if it meets the requirements for entrepreneurship. The Tax and Customs Administration determines whether you run a business for VAT purposes on the basis of your registration in the Business Register. If there is any doubt or uncertainty about the registration, the Tax Administration will contact you.

If you want to claim a refund of the VAT on solar panels, you do not have to register with the KVK Business Register. Instead, you can reclaim the VAT via the form ‘Opgaaf zonnepaneelhouders´ (Declaration solar panels, in Dutch).

Are you looking for the VAT ID number or VAT number of a company? Or do you want to check a business partner's number? You will often find the VAT identification number on their website. If not, you will need to contact the company itself. You can only get the numbers directly from the customer or supplier. You can check VAT numbers of companies and other organisations registered in the EU on the European Commission’s site via the online VIES system. You can also check that the name and address details of business partners here.

Please note that the VIES system only works when searching by VAT ID number. If you search by VAT tax number, you will get an error message. So do not give your VAT tax number to customers either.

You use your VAT ID number in communication with your customers. Moreover, you are required to include your VAT ID on your website and invoices. A KVK number shows that you are officially registered in the Dutch Business Register. In other words, that you officially run a business. 

Do you have a sole proprietorship? Then the Tax Administration will give you a VAT tax number and a VAT ID number. You use the VAT tax number for your contact with the Tax Administration. It contains your BSN. To protect your privacy, you get a different number for your contact with customers and suppliers: the VAT ID number.

After registering with KVK, you get a VAT ID number from the Tax Administration if you start offering services or products on which you have to charge VAT. You cannot apply for the small businesses scheme (KOR) until you have your VAT number. When using the KOR, you do not charge VAT, but you cannot deduct it either.