Registration in Chamber of Commerce: Mandatory and why

June 15, 2022

Registration in Chamber of Commerce (CoC): Mandatory and why?

Have you just started or are you planning to start a business? If so, there are many things you need to take care of. One of the things is to register your company in the Commercial Register of the Chamber of Commerce (CoC). This Trade Register is the basic registration for companies and legal entities in the Netherlands.

Why is registration in the CoC so important?
Registering in the CoC is important because it helps you with the legal security of your company. With the public trade register you can obtain information about companies you would like to do business with. For example, it contains information about possible bankruptcy or who is liable. As a company, you naturally want to know with whom you are doing business.

Am I required to register with the Chamber of Commerce?
Are you a company or legal entity according to the CoC? Then the answer is yes. All companies and legal persons in the Netherlands are legally obliged to register in the Commercial Register of the Chamber of Commerce. Not every entrepreneur is also an entrepreneur according to the CoC. According to the CoC, you are an entrepreneur if you meet the following three conditions:

  1. You provide goods and/or services.
  2. You make money from this (i.e. you charge more than the cost price).
  3. You do business with people other than just friends or family and also compete with entrepreneurs who sell the same or similar services or products.

In practice, these things are a little less black and white. There are also some additional questions you can use to see if you are an entrepreneur.

  • Do you invest money or time in your business?
  • Do you work regularly for your own business?
  • Do you work for more than one client?
  • Do you have the choice to determine what you do and when you work?

Do you meet all three conditions and is your answer "yes" to each additional question? Then you are obliged to register with the Chamber of Commerce. Do you not meet the three conditions? Then you are not allowed to register with the Chamber of Commerce. In other cases it is useful to discuss your personal situation with the CoC advisory team. (So if you meet the conditions but cannot answer yes to all the additional questions).

Do I also have to register with the tax authorities?
When you register in the Commercial Register of the Chamber of Commerce you get your Chamber of Commerce number. The CoC then passes on your information to the tax authorities. Therefore, you do not have to register with the tax office as well. After registration, the tax authorities will automatically give you your sales tax number and VAT identification number.
Are you not an entrepreneur according to the Chamber of Commerce? Then in some cases you can apply for a sales tax number and VAT identification number yourself at the tax office.

When do I have to register in the Chamber of Commerce?
As an entrepreneur, you are responsible for registering in the Chamber of Commerce trade register and keeping the information in this register up to date. You can register from one week before the start of your business until one week after the start of your business. You can also register earlier but the final registration with KVK number is then still one week in advance. If you are late, you should still register as soon as possible.

Are my details of the CoC registration public?
For a small fee, data such as a CoC extract can be purchased from the Chamber of Commerce. A phone number and e-mail address can also be obtained. This does not mean they may call or email you for commercial, idealistic or charitable purposes. This is only allowed if you give permission or there is a customer relationship. A customer relationship involves only relationships to which you provide or purchase products/services. Unfortunately, you cannot prevent your data from being public.

So, registration in the trade register of the Chamber of Commerce is therefore a legal requirement for some entrepreneurs and businesses. So be sure to check if this also applies to you so you don't break any laws.