Contracting in the Netherlands

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You might also find our other country guides to working abroad as a contractor useful too:

If you would like to discuss contracting abroad or have any questions about tax please contact our international contracting partner Generate directly on 0203 488 3061 and reference SJDGEN or email

Registration in the Netherlands

You will need (by law) Health Insurance (30,000 euros) for the Netherlands – more about this later but it is the first priority as you cannot move on to register as required without it (see below).

Registration takes place at the Municipal Administration or GBA (Gemeentelijke Basisadministratie) of the town in the Netherlands where you are going to live and work. You will register as you arrive to work in The Netherlands (it is wise to contact this office before you leave the UK). This will enable you to be certain to produce the correct list of documents when you arrive (

If you are planning to work in the Netherlands it is very likely you will be required to register at the GBA within the first week of your arrival there (this is compulsory). You will need to provide an address in the Netherlands where you will be living while you are working there. This address is needed at this early stage which may cause you some problems.

To register you must present a legalized birth certificate, your passport and evidence of your marital status and possibly more documents dependent on your background and country of origin.

When you leave the Netherlands you should also advise the GBA of this fact. Your unique Tax and Social Insurance Number or sofinummer, now referred to as a Citizen’s Service Number or burgerservicenummer (BSN) will be issued to you at this time. The number is key as is allows for the exchange of personal information between various government agencies.

Mandatory health insurance in the Netherlands

You will be expected to pay social premiums which include health insurance in the Netherlands and these contributions will be deducted from your gross earnings. However, if you are normally a resident in any EEA member country or Switzerland, you are not working over twelve months with your contract in the Netherlands and you have not been seconded to replace another person then you can apply to continue to be insured in your home country and pay NICs there. This is usually known as an E101 certificate. This should be applied for in your home country.

The Netherlands Health Insurance Act or Zorgverzekeringswet calls for everyone to take out health insurance. There are exceptions if you become resident there and yet receive an income elsewhere.

An E101 being gained does, however, mean that you do not need to take out health insurance for the period covered by that E101. You would also need an E106 to hand over in The Netherlands IF you need medical care.

All of the receipts and bills involved with your care should be retained as they will be useful to you.

The Immigration Service

The Immigration Service or IND manages immigration and residence permits. Having first registered at the GBA you are also required to register at the IND. They can be contacted to make an appointment on 31 208893045 / in the country on 09001234561.

If you are to contract for more than three months this is compulsory also.

The IND will seek to know the purpose of your visit to the Netherlands and you should provide full details of your work assignment and or contract on the telephone. They will then send you a form to your UK home address for completion. You will then be informed clearly what documents you must bring along.

Your passport will be marked with a Certificate from the IND if you register successfully there. This entitles you to stay in The Netherlands for as long as you wish. Unlike the GBA you need NOT inform the IND when you leave the country. A permanent residence certificate can be gained after five years.

30% Ruling in the Netherlands

The Netherlands 30% Ruling (tax-free allowance of 30% of gross earnings) – Contractors may qualify for a tax advantage. Strict criteria are applied by The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration

If you are successful and are granted the ruling or award this means that you are NOT entitled to submit your business expenses as well to enable further reductions of tax.

Specific expertise is called for here and to encourage specialists who may be hard to find locally.

Netherlands tax and background

  • The population is circa 16.3m.
  • The major language is Dutch and English and is not always spoken everywhere.
  • It is a prosperous and open economy, which depends heavily on foreign trade.
  • The economy has stable industrial relations, low unemployment and inflation, a sizeable current account surplus and a very vital role in European transport. Industrial activity is predominantly in food processing, chemicals, petroleum refining, electrical machinery and fishing. A highly mechanized agricultural sector employs no more than 3% of the labour force but provides large surpluses for export. It is one of Europe’s leading nations and attracts foreign investment.

Working practices

  • Standard hours by law are a maximum of 9 per day and 45 in a week.
  • There is a fairly rigid system of statutory rights and obligations.
  • There are as many as nine statutory bank holidays.

Work permits, Visas and Taxes

Citizens of full European (EFTA, EEA) Member countries are able to live and work in The Netherlands without a visa or work permit. The Netherlands is a member of the 15 SCHENGEN TREATY countries. This makes the movement of people easy and even encouraged.

Personal tax rates in the Netherlands (2011)

Euros earned Tax payable
0 – 18,628 33%
18,629 – 33,436 41.95%
33,437 – 55,694 42%
55,695 52%

About International Contracting

SJD has partnered with Generate, an international contractor payroll solutions company who have the skills and experience to support contractors working abroad ensuring they operate in a compliant and tax efficient way.

Contracting abroad can bring many rewards but it also carries extra responsibilities and challenges with regards to tax and in-country compliance. Few companies offer support to British and non-British contractors working overseas. However, International Umbrella has the skills and experience to support contractors working abroad ensuring they operate in a compliant and tax efficient way.

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