Netherlands Import VAT deferment

As with other EU countries, non-resident companies bringing goods into the Netherlands should VAT register and pay over import VAT at 21% (and customs duties) to clear the goods through customs into free circulation.

However, the Dutch VAT authorities offer one of the most progressive VAT deferment regimes for non-resident importers of goods into the European Union.  This includes two principle schemes to reduce or eliminate the import Dutch VAT due.  Both involve appointing a VAT fiscal representative who is responsible for all reporting of VAT or the movement and goods.

Limited Liability Fiscal Representative

Instead of the importer VAT registering in Holland, and paying the import VAT directly, they may instead appoint a Limited Liability Fiscal Representative.

These specialist licensed Dutch-resident accountants or lawyers bring the goods through customs under their own VAT number.  The limited license representative will bill the importer for the VAT suffered, only if applicable.  Limited liability fiscal representative cannot act for the onward supplies of imports to another EU country.

In terms of fees for this service, Limited Liability Fiscal Representatives tend to work out as the best option for importers with just a few shipments per year.

General License Fiscal Representative

For medium sized or larger importers, it is probably better to register the importer’s company for a Dutch VAT number.  They can also ensure that intra-community supplies can be fully reported.  The importer then applies for a Dutch Article 23 License which enables the VAT to be recorded, without a cash payment, through the VAT return in the month of import.

It should be noted that for a number of commodities, deferment is compulsory.

To benefit from the VAT deferment scheme, the importer will have to provide the Dutch VAT authorities with a bank guarantee from a Dutch bank (or Dutch branch of a foreign bank).  The guarantee is calculated as one quarter’s estimated turnover x the Dutch VAT rate.

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