Legal structure and tax effects

Prior to starting as an entrepreneur, either alone or together with others, you need to choose the type of business structure. You may consider to set up your company as a legal entity, possibly together with others.

The form of business you choose is referred to as the legal structure. The legal structure is important where your liability is concerned. It also affects your tax obligations such as VAT and income tax.

The most common legal structures in the Netherlands are as follows:

Legal entities and natural persons

There are important differences between a legal entity and a company that you own, possibly together with others (natural persons). Many of these differences have to do with liability. Are you a self-employed person or do you run the business alone or together with others? Then you are liable for the debts of the company. If your company is a legal entity, in principle you won’t be personally liable.

For more information about legal structures, please visit

Registration using your Citizen Service Number (bsn) or Legal Entities and Partnerships Identification Number (RSIN)

If you register as a sole proprietor, your bsn is used for the purpose of registration. Do you intend to register your business using another legal structure? In that case KVK, the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, will provide an RSIN. With your bsn or RSIN, we determine your VAT tax number and any other numbers, such as a payroll tax number.

For more information on the VAT tax number, please visit For more information about registering your company, please visit the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK) website.

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