Shielding your business address. What are the options?

Your business address is public. That mean it is visible to everybody. Your private address is not public. But if your private and business address are one and the same, in effect your private address will remain visible in the Business Register. It is a legal provision that the visiting address is publicly visible. It is important to establish legal certainty. An address helps you find out who you are doing business with, and where for example you can send a claim.

However, this is not preferable if it leads to a threatening situation. The ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK) is currently working on a provision for shielding your address. In the meantime, the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK offers the option to shield a visiting address in case a business owner is threatened, or feels threatened. KVK accommodates businesses in this respect.

What can you do if you face a possible threat?

For many entrepreneurs, using their private address as their business address is not a problem. But the situation is different if you face threats due to your profession. You may not feel safe. An effective solution is to give some thought to registering with your private address when you register or move your business. You can always decide to establish your business on a different address. For instance, a shared business location, or your accountant's or sector organisation's address, provided they give permission to do so. There are some conditions you need to adhere to: for example, you need to be able to show a rental contract. This is something that shared business facilities provide for increasingly, in several attractive and flexible ways.

When can you shield your visiting address?

You can have your visiting address shielded if you or one of the inhabitants of this address are under threat. We define a threat as one of two situations:

  1. Probable threat

    There is a probable threat if there is a foreseeable risk that something may happen. Everyone who is authorised to act on behalf of the business can request shielding of the visiting address, if it is identical to the private address.

  2. A threat that necessitates shielding

    There is specific information that something may happen, or is about to happen, which makes it necessary to shield one or more persons. Everyone authorised to act on behalf of the business or legal entity can request shielding of the visiting address. Even if the business address and the private address are not the same.

Once a visiting address has been shielded, it is no longer public. Only civil servants, lawyers, notaries, and court bailiffs can view the data, provided they are authorised to do so.

Probable threat

The following conditions apply to address shielding in case of probable threat:

  • You are in a situation of probable threat. This may also apply to a co-habitant of the address in question;
  • Shielding is possible for existing and new registrations, and for new visiting addresses; 
  • The visiting address belongs to a sole proprietorship (eenmanszaak), general partnership (vof), professional partnership (maatschap), association (vereniging), or foundation (stichting). European legislation makes it impossible to shield off the addresses of legal entities such as the private or public limited company (bv or nv);
  • Your visiting address and your private address are identical;
  • You must list an address for correspondence besides the shielded visiting address, for instance a P.O. Box.

After your request, we will block your registration until the request for shielding has been handled. We will contact you personally to chart the situation. The request for address shielding can be submitted via the email address afschermenadres@kvk.nl.

A threat that necessitates shielding

In this situation the following conditions apply when you enter a shielding request:

  • There is a clear threat to you or a co-inhabitant, which you can demonstrate. The proof may consist of a police report, or proof that the request concerns a person whose safety is being guarded by the police;
  • Shielding is possible for all visiting addresses. Also if the visiting address and the private address are not the same;
  • Shielding is possible for all existing and new registrations and for new visiting addresses;
  • All legal structures can request shielding, BVs and NVs included;
  • A postal address must be listed alongside the shielded visiting address, for example a P.O. Box.

After your request, we will block your registration until the request for shielding has been handled. We will contact you personally to chart the situation. The request for address shielding can be submitted via the email address afschermenadres@kvk.nl.

What does blocking entail?

When your registration is blocked, not only the address, but the entire registration is no longer visible in the Business Register. This can have negative consequences for you and for those who wish to consult the Business Register. For example, third parties may not want to do business with you, because they cannot find you in the Business Register. KVK will try to keep this blocking period as short as possible.

Important

Be aware that shielding in the Business Register is not always enough to conceal your address from others. Take other measures as well, such as:

  • Shield your address in the Personal Records Database (Basisregistratie Personen, BRP). You can do this at your municipality.
  • Make sure your telephone number is not public. More information on how to shield your phone number is available on the ACM website  (in Dutch).
  • Make sure your details cannot be found on your own website, third-party websites, (online) phone directories, and social media.
  • Check whether your details can be found through other public registers like your sector organisations or the Land Registry Office (Kadaster).

Shielding may be temporary

Depending on the legislation process, the new legal shielding provision will probably enter into effect on 22 July 2022. Until then, everyone who meets the conditions may apply for shielding. KVK will treat all requests leniently. However, this may lead to a shielding of your address which is temporary. During the legislation process, changes to the provision may occur. After it enters into effect, we will re-evaluate and re-assess the shieldings along the rules of the new provision. Should this affect your shielding, we will get in touch.

No address shielding possible?

If address shielding is not an option, you can still decide to move your business to an address other than your residential address. For example, a shared business location, your accountant's address, or your sector organisation's address, if they give you permission. This remains an effective measure to protect your privacy, particularly when registering for the first time with the Business Register and when moving to a new visiting address.

Would you like to register with the KVK Business Register, but are you in the exceptional situation of threatening circumstances and is moving to a different visiting address not an option? Then contact us via +31 88 585 1 585 and press 9 for English.

Role of sector organisations

Sector organisations will play a role in the new legal provision. The ministry of EZK and KVK want to come to agreements with sector organisations about shielding in case of a probable threat to the entire professional group. This concerns professions which run a higher risk of encountering threatening situations. Once agreements have been made on this, KVK will be able to process the shielding request faster. Sector organisations that feel there is a likely risk of probable threat to their professional group are invited to contact KVK via afschermenadres@kvk.nl

You can also ask your sector organisation to speak up on your behalf.

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