If you have a business in the Netherlands, you are legally obliged to keep accounts and to retain them for at least 7 years. You must keep data related to immovable property for at least 10 years. The obligation also applies when your business ceases trading within the specified period.

What to keep?

The accounts constitute the basis for your tax returns. Some documents are mandatory, such as:

You are allowed to digitize your accounts and use this as sufficient proof of your business activities. For more information and advice, please contact your local Tax Office (Dutch) or the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.

Copy of customers' passports

You may ask your customers for identification, but you may not copy their personal information and keep it in your administration. This is only allowed when compulsory such as when you recruit personnel. The Dutch Data Protection Authority (CBP) can provide you with more specific information.

Accounts kept by civil-law notaries and court bailiffs

As a civil-law notary or court bailiff you are required to keep accounts detailing your office’s assets and your private assets. Every year, you must compile a balance sheet for your office and your personal situation, as well as a profit and loss statement for your practice. You must have these documents reviewed by an accountant before submitting them to the Financial Supervision Office (BFT).

Addresses and Buildings Databases (BAG)

The Addresses and Buildings Databases (BAG) is an automated system in which Dutch municipalities keep their information about local addresses and buildings up to date. Municipalities store this information in the National Facility for the Basic Registration of Addresses and Buildings (BAGLV). The Land Registry Office (Kadaster) manages the National Facility and makes the data available to governments, companies, institutions and citizens.

Providing BAG data only once

If a government organisation asks you to provide data that has already been recorded in the BAG, you are not obliged to do so. You only have to provide information, such as a change of address, once to a government organisation. This information should then be available to other government agencies as well.

Using BAG data for commercial purposes

You may use the data from the BAG, including all postal codes, without any restrictions. For example, for creating applications (apps) for smartphones or tablets.