The Business Register is the official Dutch key register in which all companies and legal entities are required to register. This way, you have up-to-date information and legal certainty when doing business. In the Business Register you can see who you are dealing with, who is authorised to sign and whether there may be a bankruptcy.
The Business Register of KVK is a public register that is consulted millions of times a year by entrepreneurs, for example by ordering an extract. Government organisations also use the Business Register data, for example to assess a company's application for a licence or subsidy.
Customers, suppliers, and governments must be able to rely on the data in the register. If a company has not communicated changes, then legally, the (outdated) data registered in the Business Register applies. It is therefore important that you keep the details of your company in the Business Register up-to-date. Incorrect or outdated information can cause problems with, for example, liability. Incorrect data can also confuse new customers or suppliers. So, it is important to pass on changes immediately.
How to change your registration
Via My sole proprietorship you can immediately check and change the details of your sole proprietorship. You log in with your DigiD. Changes for other legal structures such as general partnerships or bvs can also be reported online to KVK.
KVK regularly checks the information in the Business Register. If KVK suspects that the company registration is incomplete or outdated, they will contact the company by email, letter, or telephone.
Which data is in the Business Register, why is it there, and what can you do with it? An explanation.
1. Business Activities
A description of the business activities is a complete representation of what your company does. The entrepreneur is responsible for the text of this description, for example “wholesale in kitchens and kitchen equipment, advice on kitchen design”. KVK codes these activities via the Standard Business Classification (SBI).
The correct registration of the activities of your company is important for your customers, your suppliers, and your company insurance. But also, for example, the collective labour agreement (CAO) and pension agreements that you must meet. Institutions such as Statistics Netherlands, the Netherlands food and consumer product safety authority (NVWA), the Tax Administration, and the municipality use the SBI code of your main activity to classify your company in a sector. If this SBI code is correct, you will receive the subsidy, or the support that suits your situation, and you will be treated according to the correct regulations.
Are you renting an extra building or is your company moving? Then notify KVK of this change. If it concerns an address that is not your private address, you must demonstrate with, for example, a rental agreement and/or written permission from the property owner that you may register your company at that address.
Without registration of your visiting address, your company cannot be found by others at that address. You need a company address to apply for permits from the municipality. For example, for your parking space, outside seating area or renovation. You also need the registration of your company if you want to make use of arrangements, such as for corona.
3. Signing authority
Who represents your company? Who is allowed to perform legal acts on behalf of your company? Who has power of attorney to sign certain documents or contracts? Does this correspond with the person(s) who is/are authorised to sign on behalf of your company according to KVK? And does this person/ do these people have the power of attorney that suits their position? For example, an export employee may only be authorised to sign export forms. Recently authorised representatives need to make an appointment with KVK for identification.
If someone signs documents on behalf of a company without being authorised, this is not legally valid. If the signatory does this on behalf of your company, you can hold them personally liable. If your contract is not legally signed, the customer or supplier may be able to get out of the contract. So, check whether the person with this authorisation is registered. Also think about who can manage things if that person is on a business trip or is absent due to illness.
4. Trade name
Your company can use other trade names in addition to the company name. That allows you to develop separate marketing strategies for specific products, services, and customer groups for each trade name. You can register all your trade names and domain names in the Business Register.
Anyone can easily find trade names or websites in the Business Register and find out which company it belongs to. This way, people who have contact with a fake provider that abuses your name can quickly find the real company and check your details, such as websites, address details and contacts. In addition, starting entrepreneurs who search for a company name in the Business Register can see whether their favourite name is still available.
5. Employed persons
The number of employees per company is registered in the Business Register. The employed persons consist of the cooperating owners, partners, and employees.
Arrangements for, for example, subsidies, filing annual accounts or the obligation for a works council are based on the number of employees. Many bvs register '0 or 1 working person' at the start. Such a small bv can grow into a SME with dozens of employees. Anyone who consults the Business Register may start to doubt whether this is really the company they are in contact with. So, take the time every year to check the number of employed persons in your registration and update the data if necessary.
6. What else?
WAADI, UBO The Business Register contains more information that you should check regularly. Things like: telephone number, email address, yes/no non-mailing indicator. Do you hire out staff? Then think of WAADI registration. Also, most companies have to register their important stakeholders as Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs) in the UBO register.
Fight against fake companies
Correct registration ensures that business partners can do business safely. Before working with someone, you want to know more about the company and the authorised person. Business is increasingly done digitally. Criminals capitalise on this by setting up fake websites (in Dutch), email spoofing and corporate identity theft (in Dutch). To reduce the risk of fraud, it is important that others can find your business addresses, persons authorised to sign and the trade and domain names used. This allows suppliers and customers to check whether they are doing business with the right company and the right people.
100 years of security
The Business Register Act was established in 1921. That is over a 100 years ago. The Business Register ensures an up-to-date registration, allowing everyone to view data of companies and organisations with legal certainty. From 2021, governments and agencies are obliged to consult each other's current key registers and to report it to the registrar if something is not correct.
Inaccuracies in other company's data?
Do you think that the registration of a company or organisation in the Business Register is incorrect, for example, because your mail was returned? Then pass this on to KVK using this form. What risks do you run as an entrepreneur and what should you pay attention to? Read all about how to do business safely.