Starting (and closing) your business
Starting your own business naturally begins with a good idea, the discovery of a niche in the market or because you wish to be completely autonomous. But what are the practical things you need to arrange before starting a business? And what do you have to take into account when you want to close it?
Starting your business
Every new entrepreneur must choose a business structure for his or her company. This is basically the first step. Most new entrepreneurs start as a sole trader (sole proprietor), but maybe a general partnership (VOF) would actually suit your company better.
The next step is choosing a name for you company. This is where you can get creative, but do take into account that there are certain rules you have to follow. Your company name can’t be too similar to that of competitors and deception is prohibited. You can always use the BIOP (Benelux Office for Intellectual Property) trademark register to check whether the name you have in mind for your business doesn’t resemble an existing trademark too much.
You are then obliged to register your business at the Trade Register of the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK). This is done online, through the website of the KVK. You will then be invited to an appointment in person with a KVK employee. During this appointment, the employee will check your ID and check whether you meet the conditions for registration. The KVK charges €51.95 for this and these are probably the very first business expenses that you can add to your business administration.
The KVK will then pass on your details to the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration. So you don’t have to register your business at the Tax Authorities yourself! If everything is in order, you’ll receive a letter from the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration a few days later, containing your VAT number and VAT identification number (VAT ID). You need these two numbers for your VAT return or if you send an invoice to your customers, for example.
Closing your business
If you want to close your business, you basically follow the same path: first, you deregister from the Trade Register of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. Nowadays, this can be done online, so you won’t have to make an appointment in person with a KVK employee for that.
After the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration is notified of the deregistration of your sole proprietorship by the KVK, you’ll receive a letter stating that you must submit a VAT return for the very last time. When the Tax Authorities receive this VAT return in good order, a final confirmation of the deregistration as an entrepreneur will be sent to you.