Business activities are taxed in a different way than consumers are. If you run a sole-trader business as a self-employed person, the profit generated from your business activity is taxed as an income (see Box 1 taxation). Profit generated from a business entity is taxed as profit tax for business (Vennootschapsbelasting or VPB).
Income from business activities
When you or your tax partner start a business you or your tax partner may not immediately begin to pay income tax or contributions under the Healthcare Insurance Act (Zvw) on the taxable profits from business activities. The applicable taxes and healthcare insurance contribution will not be charged until you file your income tax.
After you have submitted your tax return, you receive an assessment from the Dutch tax office and the income tax due and for the Zvw contributions that you are required to pay. To avoid having to pay interest charges and a large amount at once after you file your income tax, apply for a provisional assessment. If you already have a provisional assessment, check it and make any necessary adjustments.
Do you have shares or profit-sharing certificates? If so, you have to pay dividend tax on their proceeds. The party who pays those proceeds (dividends) to you, must withhold the dividend tax and pay this to the Tax and Customs Administration.
Dividend tax refund
If, as a foundation, association or other legal entity, are you not subject to corporation tax, you can now file a digital request for a refund of the Dutch dividend tax withheld.
You have to register with the Dutch tax office first in order to request a dividend tax refund. You can do this by sending in the form 'Registreren voor teruggaaf dividendbelasting'. This form can be found in the secure section on the website of the Dutch tax office. You only have to register once.
Refund or exemption from Dutch dividend tax
Dutch companies withhold tax from the dividend they pay to shareholders: dividend tax. The dividend tax rate is 15%. Do you live or are you established in a country other than the Netherlands and do you hold shares in a Dutch company? If so, you may be exempted from or receive a refund of Dutch dividend tax.
Refund or exemption?
In case of a full or partial exemption, a company will already withhold less or no dividend tax from the dividend to be paid. If you have not requested an exemption, you may (afterwards) request a refund of any dividend tax paid in excess.
Intercompany dividend or portfolio dividend?
Whether you are entitled to an exemption or refund, and the relevant amount, first of all depends on the number of shares held by you in the Dutch company:
- Do you have a considerable amount of shares in the Dutch company? In that case, it concerns intercompany dividend. Within the EU and the EEA, a minimum percentage of 5% of the shares applies to intercompany dividendsDifferent percentages apply to other countries, depending on the tax treaty between the Netherlands and the relevant country.
- If you have shares, but no intercompany dividend, it concerns portfolio dividend (investment dividend).
Foreign bodies that are not subject to profits tax
If, as a body, you are established in the EU or Iceland, Norway or Liechtenstein (EEA) or in a 'third country', you may request a refund of all dividend tax withheld (15%) if you meet the following conditions:
- You are established in a country other than the Netherlands.
- You are not subject to profits tax in this country.
- If you would be established in the Netherlands, you would not be subject to corporation tax.
- You do not perform any investment activities.
- You are the beneficial owner of the shares.
Are you established in a country that is not part of the EU or EEA? In that case, you can request a dividend tax refund if, in addition to the above conditions, you meet the following conditions:
- It should concern a portfolio dividend.
- The Netherlands must have made arrangements on the exchange of information with your country of establishment.
Living and working in the Netherlands for a time? We can help you with your Dutch taxes, so you don't have to deal with the Belastingdienst yourself. Whether you're employed or have a small business, we'll make your life easier and save you money.