Werken als zelfstandige

Can I work as a self-employed person anywhere?

Thanks to the internet, it is possible to work remotely in an increasing number of professions or activities. This makes you independent of place and time in relation to your customers. This has led to the emergence of the “digital nomads”. For example, Estonia offers the opportunity to efficiently set up a business and be commercially active in the EU with full digital citizenship. This way you can do business there without living in Estonia or even the EU.

In the European Union there is free movement of services, which allows a citizen to live and work in all EU countries. Elsewhere, a work permit is often necessary.

Which taxes apply?

As a Dutch citizen working outside his own country, various options are available for income tax. If you continue to live in the Netherlands, you will remain subject to tax in the Netherlands on your “worldwide income”. If you live outside the Netherlands, but you still receive income from the Netherlands, you are taxable in the Netherlands on the income earned in the Netherlands. But if you have no income from the Netherlands and do not live in the Netherlands, you do not pay income tax in the Netherlands.

Whether you live in the Netherlands is determined on the basis of specific circumstances on the basis of agreements established within the EU or through tax treaties with countries outside the EU. Usually this is based on a minimum number of days in which you stay in a country. By consciously dealing with this, you may be able to take advantage of the rate differences in the different countries.

Sales tax in cross-border services is also a point for attention. In principle, sales tax must be paid in the country where the recipient of the service is located. If the customer and service provider are both located in the EU, this is relatively easy for the service provider: the customer must then declare and pay the sales tax. With cross-border services to countries outside the EU, it is more laborious for the service provider: the service provider in the country outside the EU must register with the tax authorities and declare and pay the turnover tax itself.

What about my pension and my health insurance?

Pension accrual in the Netherlands takes place in three pillars. The first pillar is the AOW. The second pillar is pension accrual through the employer and provides a supplementary pension for salaried employees. The third pillar concerns individual supplementary pension provisions. This pillar is relevant for a self-employed person who does not accrue pension in the second pillar during the period as a self-employed person.

Bij vertrek naar het buitenland word je recht op AOW verlaagd naar rato van het aantal jaren dat je tot je pensioengerechtigde leeftijd buiten Nederland verblijft. Woon je in die jaren in een ander EU-land, dan gelden speciale afspraken ter bescherming van de inwoners en bouw je daar wel aan het recht op een ouderdomspensioen. Woon je buiten de EU, dan is de situatie per land verschillend. Om te zorgen dat je altijd in staat bent om voldoende basispensioen op te bouwen, bestaat de mogelijkheid om vanuit het buitenland een vrijwillige premie te betalen en daarmee de ontbrekende Algemene Ouderdomswet-opbouw bij te spijzen.

Een verplichte zorgverzekering dient in EU-verband te worden afgesloten in het land waarin de zelfstandige woont, als tenminste 25% van de werkzaamheden in het woonland wordt verricht. Is dat niet het geval, dan dient de verzekering te worden afgesloten in het land wat als middelpunt van de werkzaamheden kan worden aangemerkt. Met veel andere landen zijn verdragen gesloten op het gebied van sociale verzekeringen, maar de gevolgen voor de zorgverzekering zijn verschillend. Laat je hierover goed informeren en houd er ook rekening mee dat de verzekeringsdekking af kan wijken van wat je in Nederland gewend bent.

The above shows that working abroad as a self-employed person has the necessary attention. Issues related to taxes, health insurance and pensions are not a daily occurrence for most people, so it is advisable to prepare yourself thoroughly and, if necessary, to get advice and, if necessary, to ask a second opinion from a specialist. Also register to our newsletter to receive even more news about working abroad!