Closing down checklist: 8 importants steps

Below we've listed at least eight important steps to consider when closing down your business. It's feasible that there are even more issues to consider, especially if you have to lay off staff. You'll need to apply for a dismissal permit [Dutch: ontslagvergunning] to do so.

Step 1: Deregister Your Company

You'll have to remove your company from the KvK Business Register [Dutch: Handelsregister]. Post or hand-deliver the deregistration form (Form 14) in person. Although English-language forms are available, you'll have to fill them in in Dutch. Please note that if you're planning to apply for financial support (Step 7), then it's best to postpone deregistration for the time being.

Step 2: Check Your Tax and Customs Administration Deregistration

The KvK will forward your deregistration details to the Belastingsdienst that in turn will send you a written confirmation.

You'll also have to do the following:

  • Check that you've received confirmation of your deregistration. If not, inform the Belastingdienst yourself that you've ceased trading.
  • Close down your business' accounts.
  • Promptly file annual reports and accounts for the period up to and including the date you ceased trading.
  • Make your final calculations and submit your final VAT return.
  • Settle all tax liabilities.
  • Settle your tax-deferred retirement reserve [Dutch: Fiscale Oudedagsreserve (FOR)] with your income tax.
  • Pay VAT on any goods withdrawn from the business for personal use.

Step 3: Cancel Your Insurance Cover

Don't forget to cancel any insurance policies if you're closing down your business.

Step 4: Cancel Your Domain Name

Don't forget to cancel your domain name registration with your registrar. Every registrar has its own specific cancellation policies and procedures. Once you've informed them, they'll make all the necessary arrangements with SIDN, the organisation responsible for domain name registrations in the Netherlands.

Step 5: Check Your Eligibility for Discontinuation Relief

You may be eligible for limited discontinuation relief [Dutch: stakingsaftrek] if you're planning to close down or temporarily suspend operations. This means that you'll pay less tax on any cessation profit [Dutch: stakingswinst], e.g. revenue generated as part of goodwill.
File for stakingsaftrek and deductions for annuity premiums [Dutch: stakingslijfrenteafrek] along with your income tax return.

Step 6: Lay Off any Staff

If you've got employees in the Netherlands and you're planning to lay them off, you'll need valid grounds for dismissal, e.g. refusal to perform work, gross negligence, excessive absenteeism, reorganisation or company closure.

Step 7: Check Your Eligibility for Benefits

You may be eligible for financial support from your local authority while closing down your business. Provisions potentially exist in either the Social Assistance (Self-Employed Persons) Decree [Dutch: Besluit bijstandverlening zelfstandigen (BBZ)] or the Older and Partially Disabled (Former Self-Employed Persons) Income Scheme Act [Dutch: Wet inkomensvoorziening oudere en gedeeltelijk arbeidsongeschikte gewezen zelfstandigen (IOAZ)].

Please note that one of the conditions for receiving financial support is that you remain registered with the KvK.

Step 8: File Your Accounting Records

You're legally obliged to keep all accounting records for at least seven years after closing down your business. Property-related information needs to be kept for ten years.

Don't Forget...

Don't forget to cancel permits, licences, telephone lines, subscriptions and rental contracts, etc. If you're planning to leave the Netherlands after you've closed down your business, then you'll also have to address other matters. For example, you'll need to deregister yourself with your local authority. They'll remove your name from the Persons Database [Dutch: Basisregisratie Personen (BRP)] and inform other government bodies about your departure.

Don't forget that work permits issued through a company are no longer valid if that company subsequently closes down.