Avoid false self-employment (zzp)

If you work as freelancer or entrepreneur (self-employed) in the Netherlands, you might have heard about false self-employment (in Dutch: schijnzelfstandigheid). The Dutch government has announced that they want to put an end to this. Currently, the Dutch tax office is almost not enforcing false self-employment; the plan is to strengthen supervision by 2025 at the latest. There must be clearer rules about whether you are seen as an employee or a self-employed professional (zzp). This will create a fairer playing field between employees and the self-employed.

What is false self-employment?

False self-employment, also known as bogus self-employment or disguised salaried employment, actually means that it looks like you are a self-employed person, but according to the tax authorities, you are not. Not sure if you are seen as a false self-employed person? If you answer yes to all the questions below, you are in false self-employment:

  • Are you obliged to do the job yourself?
  • Does the client determine how you carry out the assignment?
  • Do you receive a fixed compensation, even in the event of illness?

What is the problem of false self-employment?

What is the reason that the government is concerned about false self-employment? The problem is that there is no fair playing field in employment law and tax treatment. This problem has two sides:

  1. In the case of self-employment, the employer does not have to pay wage tax and national insurance contributions.
  2. As an entrepreneur, you are entitled to entrepreneur deductions (the biggest is the self-employed deduction). In the case of false self-employment, you are wrongly seen as an entrepreneur, and you can use these deductible items. As a result, you pay less income tax than you are supposed to.

As you can read above, the tax authorities receive less tax money due to false self-employment. Therefore, they will take a stricter approach to this.

Prevent false self-employment

The chance of being caught with false self-employment is currently very low because there is practically no enforcement unless you are malicious. If the Dutch tax authorities see you as a false self-employed person, this has consequences for you and your employer.

Consequences for self-employed:

  • Correction obligation or additional assessments
  • Loss of tax deductions (self-employed person deduction, SME profit exemption, etc.)

Consequences for the client (employer):

  • Payment of employer social insurance contributions, often with retroactive effect
  • Often a fine
  • The false self-employed person must stop immediately unless there is an employment contract

How to avoid false self-employment?

There are some actions that you can take to make sure you are seen as an entrepreneur by the Dutch tax office:

  1. Work for more than 3 clients per year
  2. Wait 6 months before you start working for your old employer
  3. Invest in your company (e.g., the tools you need to perform your job)
  4. Send invoices yourself and separately per assignment

We help with your Dutch taxes

Speak directly with one of our tax advisors

Team TaxSavers

Do you have questions about false self-employmnet? Or could you use some help with your Dutch tax return? We are happy to help! Please contact us using our details mentioned below.

 Fill in our contact form, and we will get in touch

Send your message to + 31 20 – 2170120

Call us on +31 20 – 2170120