Turnover tax (VAT) return for entrepreneurs

The VAT return is also called turnover tax return. Value-added tax, VAT, applies to products and services. You pay VAT on your turnover. You charge the VAT to your customer on top of the price of your product or service. When submitting your return, you pay the VAT received from the customer to the Tax and Customs Administration. You may deduct any VAT you pay your suppliers. This is called deduction of input tax.

As an entrepreneur you must file a turnover tax return. How many times a year do you file a return and how does it work?

Entrepreneur for VAT purposes

After registering your company in the Business Register of the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK, you will receive a letter from the Tax and Customs Administration. This states whether you are an entrepreneur for VAT purposes and how and when you must submit a VAT return.

First VAT return

Even if you have no turnover yet, you must file a return. The first VAT return will usually be on paper. You will receive an explanation with the forms from the Tax and Customs Administration. After that, you submit your tax returns digitally.

File a return

You can submit the VAT return digitally via the secure portal (in Dutch) of Belastingdienst.nl. The Tax and Customs Administration will send you login details. 

Do you have a sole proprietorship? You can log in using your DigiD. Does your business have another legal form, such as a general partnership or private limited company? Then you need to use eHerkenning. This is comparable to DigiD but for entrepreneurs. Remember to apply for eHerkenning on time, otherwise you cannot file your VAT return.

You might be able to file the VAT return with your own accounting software. It is also possible to outsource the return to your bookkeeper or accountant.

When to file the return

Most entrepreneurs submit their VAT return on a quarterly basis. You may also be asked to file your returns on a monthly or annual basis. This depends on the amount of your turnover. Even if you have no turnover in a certain period, you must file a VAT return. The following deadlines for submitting returns apply:

  • Monthly and quarterly return

    You must submit the return no later than the last day of the month following the quarter or month for which you are filing the return. So for February you file the return no later than 31 March. For the first quarter you file your return no later than 30 April.
  • Annual return

    You must submit the return before April 1 of the following year.

The Btw-Alert app (in Dutch) can help you remember when to file your return.

Pay VAT

Avoid a fine from the Tax and Customs Administration and pay on time if you owe VAT.

Small businesses scheme (KOR)

Is your turnover excluding VAT less than €20,000 per calendar year? Then you can opt for the small business scheme (kleineondernemersregeling, KOR). In that case, you do not charge VAT on your deliveries. You may also not deduct the VAT on costs (input tax). You may keep simplified VAT records and do not have to submit a VAT return. Check if the small businesses scheme is interesting for you and watch our KOR checklist video.

Reverse-charging VAT

Do you work as a subcontractor or provide secondment of staff? If so, you may have to deal with the reverse-charge mechanism. This applies to manual labour, especially in construction and shipbuilding, cleaning companies, and landscapers. But you must also apply the reverse-charge mechanism when doing business with foreign countries and some other transactions. You do not charge your client VAT. You put 'btw verlegd' on the invoice, plus your customer's VAT identification number.

Tax webinars

Watch a webinar about taxes for entrepreneurs in the Netherlands to learn more. There is also a Dutch-language tax webinar - simply turn on the auto-translated subtitles in the video settings.

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