Xpub3: freelance admin

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Registering as a sole entrepreneur in the Netherlands helped me being able to get paid as a freelancer and have clients from all around Europe [compared to my try-out in Bulgaria, where being a small business is quite challenging - the admin & accounting situation is much less supportive for small fish like me]. As you're automatically VAT-registered, you can also get back VAT for things you bought for your business. Here are the steps I went through while learning how to manage this new endeavour. ;-)


_Firstly, you need to register at ▶▶ KVK [Chamber of Commerce - Kamer van Koophandel].
_As an artist and freelancer, I made a registration as an ▶▶ Eenmanszaak (sole proprietorship).
_Then, you log in with your DigiD and fill in the information about your future business.
_When you finish it, you need to make an appointment with the KVK. You can do it in any city in the Netherlands, it doesn't need to be in the one you live in at the moment.
_For your appointment, you need to bring a few documents [they will send you the list over email] - such as your ID card. You will also need to pay 75 EUR fee.
_The agent will go through your whole application and will fill in all the necessary info for you. So, you don't need to worry if you're not sure about some info you needed to add.
_You have to pick up maximum three SBI codes (Standaard Bedrijfsidentificatie) from the ▶▶ Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK:

SBI codes classify companies according to their business activities. Many (government) organisations use SBI codes. You can change your SBI code at KVK if you have received an incorrect code, or if your business activities change. If you take up extra business activities, you can get up to two extra SBI codes. (but you will have to pay for it)

For my artistic and design practice, I picked three codes: primary 9003: art and design work (for me doing art work, selling artworks etc.); and also 74101: graphic design, web design (for services connected to design) and 85522: workshops for art (when facilitating activities and workshops).
_After your meeting at KVK, you will receive a letter in your physical mailbox containing your VAT registration confirmation and your VAT number.

and of course...
_you need to be registered at your local municipality and have a home address & BSN to do this
_you can use your personal bank account for your company

_business expenses

What I find quite great about being VAT-registered is that you can get back a lot of money - from all sorts of things you buy and don't even think of how much VAT you are actually paying. Here is a list with expenses that you can account as company costs and 1. get the VAT you paid back!; and 2. use for your annual report so you will pay less tax.

_your company registration fee :D
_materials - anything that you buy for your projects, admin work, stationary costs; for artsy projects - even odd things can be accounted, if there are used for the work (e.g. paper, notebooks, pens, markers, art supplies, fabrics, pins, paint, clay, paper, office materials... you name it)
_technical equipment (if you buy something more expensive than 450 eur - check it with your accountant in advance) - (computer, phone, welding machine, hard disk, printer, all sorts of gadgets and accessories for them, batteries etc.) + also maintenance costs
_web & communication services - of course all kinds of subscriptions for website management, servers, cloud services, mobile phone bills etc.
_literature and books
_travel costs - if you're travelling and it can be/is connected to your business and practice (even potential clients making etc.), you can account your travel costs (keep all tickets and their receipts, get invoices from the hotels etc.); but also more regular costs such as bike, metro, train, etc.
_food and drinks for business meetings - if you have a meeting in a bar with clients/collaborators, you can account for the bill
_expenses abroad - yes, if the trip has a business character
_fixed charges such as studio, office, storage, insurance
_business support - accountant services, advisors, if you work with someone else on a project etc.
_marketing, advertising communications, promotional costs

Remember always to keep your receipts and invoices. Make sure the VAT information is on the receipt.
You can account for expenses up to 1 year before you registered at KVK.

_VAT stuff

...coming soon...

_VAT report

...coming soon...

_VAT rates

In the Netherlands, the standard VAT rate is 21%. There are two additional special rates: the 9% rate and the 0% rate (zero rate).

You can read about them in more detail ▶▶ here.

What rates do I apply to my invoices:
_selling self-made books, publications, and artworks (zines, books, mixed-media publications that have a physical element, art prints, postcards etc.) - 9% VAT
_everything else (facilitating workshop, making graphic designs, commissioned artwork, commissions for galleries etc.) - 21% VAT

_annual tax report

...when the time comes I'll update the steps here.

_useful links

▶▶ what info should be on your invoice
▶▶ explanations of the turnover tax declaration // in dutch
▶▶ what are the different VAT rates in the Netherlands
▶▶ where to fill in the VAT report // for ondernemers
▶▶ which costs are tax deductible
▶▶ chat with tax administration and ask questions
▶▶ where to get your business register extract

_bookkeeping services in NL

▶▶ 🖤 Lemondate consulting
▶▶ Kees de Boekhouder