VAT is an (EU directed) indirect tax that is charged on the supply of goods and services. Where an entrepreneur or business makes supplies that are subject to VAT, the entrepreneur or business (taxable person) should be VAT registered and VAT should be accounted for at the appropriate rate. VAT registered taxable persons are entitled to recover VAT incurred on the purchase of goods and services in connection with taxable transactions. In this manner, the VAT cost is ultimately borne by customers such as private individuals or entrepreneurs and businesses making VAT exempt supplies (such as certain financial services providers) that have no right to recover VAT.
VAT may be charged at either the standard rate which is currently 21% or the reduced rates of 6% (for certain goods and services) and 0% (for intra-Community supplies and export).
Under certain conditions VAT grouping is possible. In order to apply for VAT grouping, the taxable persons should be established in the Netherlands and be closely bound to each other by organisational, financial and economic links.
Where goods or services are supplied between different countries, for VAT purposes the place of supply should be determined in order to appoint the country that will levy the VAT. As from January 1, 2010, new rules apply for the place of supply of services.
When a taxable person established abroad (without a permanent establishment for VAT purposes in the Netherlands) performs a taxable supply of goods or services to a taxable person or non-taxable legal entity established in the Netherlands, the VAT must be accounted for by that Dutch taxable person or non-taxable legal entity (reverse charge mechanism).
VAT may not be recovered in respect of expenses for food and drinks in a restaurant, hotel or café and in respect of expenses that are not used for business purposes. Furthermore the VAT incurred on business entertainment and certain supplies and/or services for private use to personnel cannot be recovered in excess of € 227 per person per year.
Depending on the height of the VAT due taxable persons are required to submit monthly or quarterly VAT returns. The Dutch tax authorities have a regularisation period of 5 years, starting at the time when the liability to pay VAT arises.