Types of legal forms
There are legal forms with and without corporate (legal) personality.
Legal forms without corporate (legal) personality:
- sole trader (eenmanszaak)
- limited partnership (cv or commanditaire vennoootschap)
- general partnership (vof or vennootschap onder firma)
- partnership (maatschap)
Legal forms with corporate (legal) personality:
- private limited company (bv or besloten vennootschap)
- public limited company (nv of naamloze vennootschap)
- foundation (stichting)
- association (vereniging)
A legal form without legal personality means you are liable for the debt of your company with your private capital. This is usually not the case for a legal form with legal personality. Please find more information regarding the different legal forms in the brochure 'Starting your own business' (Chamber of Commerce).
Private limited company (Ltd.)A private limited company, or in Dutch a besloten vennootschap (BV) is an autonomous entity. This means that the BV is generally speaking liable for any debts, rather than you as an individual. P
Self-employed person without employeesNeither self-employed professional (also known as a zzp'er) nor freelancer is a legal form. Working as a self-employed professional or freelancer you have to select a legal form. Most self-employed professionals act as sole proprietors or have a private limited company.
European legal formsEuropean legal forms offer you the option to work together across borders with companies from other Member States of the European Union. There are three European legal forms:
- European Economic Interest Grouping (EEIG)
- Societas Europaea (SE, European public limited liability company)
- European cooperative company (ECC)
Legal entity supervisionWill you be incorporating a private or public limited company, or amending the articles of association? Your legal entity is under continuous supervision of Justis, the Agency for Scrutiny, Integrity and Screening (Ministry of Security and Justice). The goal is to detect and prevent abuse.
Changes in the legal formChanges in the legal form or the collaborative venture in which your business participates will have fiscal and administrative consequences. Changes must be reported to the Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst) and the Chamber of Commerce (KvK). You may have to re-apply for certain licences from your municipality, including, for example, licence under the Licensing and Catering act and operating permits.
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