Contracting for UK Company in The Netherlands


Hope everyone is well

I just signed up as it seems a very helpful friendly place and i wondered if anyone has done anything similar or has any advice for me regarding taking on a contracting role in the Netherlands working for a UK employer.

As a bit of background I am currently employed by a UK based company who continue to pay me in GBP into a UK bank account and pay my UK taxes. I have worked full time for them in the UK since 2007.

I moved to The Netherlands in October 2020 (the UK employer didnt send me here, i'm here on a year long secondment as my wife got offered a job here). I have my post-Brexit residence permit sorted and am legally registered here with a BSN number/Health insurance etc.

I have been continuing to work for them from home in The Netherlands since October 2020 (I already have a Dutch accountant taking care of any tax/social security implications that will arise from this).

Once my secondment ends in October 2021 my UK employer they have said that if i wish to stay here (which i do!) I would need to no longer be an employee but work as an independent contractor based in The Netherlands.

It has been suggested by a Dutch accountant i explained my situation to that I use a Dutch payroll/umbrella company for this who would "employ" me and invoice my UK company for my time and could then take care of my Dutch taxes/social security each month and provide me with payslips etc.

However this advice was given summer last year and I am aware that the Dutch payroll laws can change quite a bit and am now not certain if this would still be a viable option or not or if the Belastingdiest would not be happy that i'm technically still employed by a UK company.

Another option suggested by the accountant is to set up as a "Dutch BV" limited company who i then invoice my UK client from. This however obviously would mean more ongoing expenses (plus the initial expense to incorporate the company ) and admin on my part with having to deal with tax and social security etc. myself. However, it does seem as though i'd be slightly better off overall with the ability to pay out dividends to myself at a lower tax rate.

If that is the best option long-term then i'll have to do it.

Is this something anyone can give advice on please or has anyone had a similar experience that would be helpful too?

I have contacted several Dutch Umbrella companies online as well and am waiting for more info from them but i figure the more info i can gather on this the better!

Ideally i need some information to go back to my employer with on how this might work as anything that might mean any major extra expenses/admin for them would probably be a no go and i'll be coming back to the UK....

Any help or advice would be much appreciated

Many thanks

Hi and welcome to the Forum.

I've heard of the payroll/umbrella company method, but that was before Brexit.  Whatever, if that is still a way to do this, then I'd be interested in knowing who you are doing it through and whether they are willing to do the same for other Expats (so I can pass on the info).  I do know that they charged a significant amount of money for this service.

Limited Company - I don't think you can do it as they will not let you set up a Ltd Company with only one non-Dutch customer; at least that's what other Expats who have tried what you are doing have told us recently.  The best people to speak to are at the KvK; this link will take you straight to their website, there's a contact section in the top right corner of the webpage.

Please let us know how you get on.

Hope this helps.

Expat Team

Thank you, that is helpful.

I will certainly get in touch with the KvK. Setting up a BV is actually what the accountant recommended as the best option for me but again maybe things have changed now since Brexit or maybe they were just wrong!

I'm finding it very hard to get a clear understanding of how the payroll thing works so i have contacted several companies now explaining my situation. Hopefully i will hear back soon and will certainly update you if I get any useful info about how it all works.

Thanks again

Hi again.

I first looked at the payroll option 20 years ago when I was considering doing it.  Your employer provides your UK contract and they transfer the specifics to a Dutch version and you become an employee of the Dutch company, although still managed by your UK employer.  They charged a % of the salary/bonus (I think it was 10%) for their trouble.  I think it worked then because the EU legislation provided for cross-border workers.

In the end, I never did it and moved back to the UK; the tax situation got very complicated with no single person at the Belastingdienst saying the same thing twice and the social taxes were crippling.

My employer does actually have an office in The Netherlands (it does totally different work to the UK office) so the obvious answer to my issue is for them to add me as an employee here through that office.

They rejected that idea outright last year though - hard to get a clear answer from senior managers sometimes but i gather they were worried about potential Brexit issues and i guess they didn't want to deal with the specifics of transferring me to a Dutch contract.

However, by what you're saying there it sounds as if the Payroll company thing would be just as much if not more hassle to setup plus more expensive for me and them. If i get enough info about how it all works then i can present a case to them that they should just employ me in our office here instead. I will certainly bring up elements of what you've said here along with any other stuff i can get from these companies so thanks again for the info it's all useful!

I believe that you can have eenmanzak and provide the services to UK based company. No need to create a BV. Pl check with your accountant.