Is anyone self-employed?

Old Oct 21st 2015, 12:14 pm
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Default Is anyone self-employed?

Hi Everyone

I have just joined the Forum and I wonder if you can help me.

We (middle-age couple, no children) are British but currently live in France. OH has always wanted to live in Netherlands and about eight years ago we came very close to it, but moved to France instead. I am more ambivalent about my location, so I am investigating the feasibility of a move to NL.

I note and agree with all the points on the other thread about language and integration, but wonder to what extent they apply to us. We are a 'self-contained' unit, in that we would own our house outright, we income streams. I run an online business which is portable. So, we are not seeking any assistance, but we would need to be in the health system.

At present my business is fully French registered, with all the bureaucracy that involves. I can speak/read/write French so I can deal with this. My question really is - how difficult is it to be self-employed in NL? Most people seem to move to company jobs and I have been able to find little information about the rules for small businesses, what sort of taxes or social charges are applied and if there are any restrictions.

In France there is a lot of bureaucracy and there is an impression that self employment is not encouraged. I have seen mention that NL is much the same. How bad is it? My biggest concern is the language, I know how long it takes to become fluent...

Thanks.
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Old Oct 21st 2015, 1:13 pm
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Default Re: Is anyone self-employed?

welcome to the forum.
Obviously all matters for housing, TV, internet, phone, gas, water electricity are going to be in Dutch. Obviously most tax matters will be in Dutch too. However the Dutch government sometimes has pages or whole websites in English.The explanation of the process to register yourself is a good instance of this.
Dutch is needed.
To set up a business you have to seek advice at the The Kamer van Koophandel. The service is not always free.
All information on this and more can be found in the WIKI at the start of this section on BritishExpats.
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Old Oct 21st 2015, 5:13 pm
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Default Re: Is anyone self-employed?

I'm not self-employed but an Italian girl in our Meet Up group recently moved here to set up her knitting business. She found it really easy compared with Italy, especially as regards to how the Dutch tax the self-employed.

You don't necessarily need to speak Dutch to set up your TV/Internet/Utilities and the local City Council will often have a special bureau for helping foreigners settle in. The only time you really need to speak Dutch is dealing with the Tax Authorities as they are not allowed to speak English apparently! So far we haven't needed to contact them by phone as our taxes were prepared by our company's accountant. However I have come across volunteer organisations that help immigrants when these situations arise.

Obviously you'll need to learn some Dutch to avoid asking people in the supermarket what the label on the mystery meat says!
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Old Oct 21st 2015, 5:49 pm
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Default Re: Is anyone self-employed?

Thanks Casa, especially for the info on the Koophandel. I had a quick look and have downloaded a pdf in English about establishing a business. It does not seem to be too complicated for an EU national. I see you are in Spain - OH's second choice country, but far too hot for me in summer.

Dizzyp - that is very encouraging. Yes, I got the impression the s/e tax was based on profit not turnover ie. you can deduct costs/ expenses. In France you are not allowed to do this under the regime I am in (any other regime is even worse) so you have to pay based on turnover/gross income received.

I need to get my head round the social charges/ health care arrangements ie. equivalent of NI in the UK. I understand all residents have to pay for insurance which is not a problem. In France I pay about 24% of gross turnover which gets us healthcare for me and the OH. He is classed as an 'inactif' as early retired and is not allowed to join the French healthcare system for five years, however I can cover him as my 'dependent' as we are married. I need to find out if there is a similar rule in NL.

Please don't think I object to learning Dutch. I don't - in fact, 8 years ago I knew a bit - it's just that I am well aware of the effort needed and the time it takes to become fluent.
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Old Oct 21st 2015, 6:40 pm
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Default Re: Is anyone self-employed?

Seems France is like Italy then regarding not allowing you to deduct costs from profit - crazy!

We pay about 100euros each for health care and dentist visits. It's all a bit confusing compared to the UK but we arrived from the US so we had gotten used to all the jargon like co-pay and deductibles! You can choose more expensive plans that include physiotherapy etc. Our deductible is 300 euros but doctor's visits are free. You would have to pay for blood tests and prescriptions etc. But again you can pay more in the monthly insurance to include prescriptions. However I'm not very impressed by the doctors I've seen - not one has asked about my personal history which I find very strange!

Regarding the language, I've been here 2 years and only now am I able to follow social conversations (but I can't reply!). They do appreciate you trying even when you're terrible like me!

I'll try to find the pdf which listed the different healthcare plans we were offered and send it if you'd like.

Denise
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Old Oct 22nd 2015, 8:11 am
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Default Re: Is anyone self-employed?

Originally Posted by French Fan View Post
My question really is - how difficult is it to be self-employed in NL? Most people seem to move to company jobs and I have been able to find little information about the rules for small businesses, what sort of taxes or social charges are applied and if there are any restrictions.
Check out this link. Good luck.
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Old Oct 22nd 2015, 8:20 am
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Default Re: Is anyone self-employed?

I am in Northern Spain, it is not so hot here. Have lived in NL for a number of years and the wife is Dutch.
I have difficulty coming to terms with those who suggest you will not have any problem if you do not have any Dutch language skills.
Yes the call centre staff may speak English, maybe front desks will be manned by English speakers, but all paperwork will be in Dutch. How do you know you are getting the best deal or what you are signing up for if you have no Dutch?
Health care is not a percentage of your wages. Costs depend on the company you go for, ages of person covered plus what you want covered.
The links to comparison websites are in the wiki. However no Dutch and you cannot use them.
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Old Oct 24th 2015, 1:22 pm
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Default Re: Is anyone self-employed?

Thanks for the replies, and the links. I have found the info useful, and it seems OH's plan is not a non-starter. So far as I can see it is likely to better for the business in NL or at least not worse, which is what I was trying to establish.

We did think of Spain, Casa, but according to a friend of mine in the same field of work, the social charges for SE are a higher percentage than France, and even in your area, which we know from the Camino, it is too hot for me in summer.

I agree totally re the language. I don't think you can (or should) live anywhere without learning the local language. It usually takes on average two years to sell a house in this area so we have a couple of years to get a grounding in Dutch :-)
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Old Oct 25th 2015, 4:51 pm
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Default Re: Is anyone self-employed?

I have never had a problem here using google's translation software for any Dutch webpage; comparison site or other. Of course it's not perfect, and the more Dutch you learn the better for accuracy, but it is more than sufficient to understand what is being discussed.

I would say to anyone that nobody has the right to dictate anyone elses learning objectives. I had no opportunity to learn Dutch before moving here (speed of move/no time) and I've survived here for almost a decade with less than perfection. Anyone who tells me I should be fluent by now is often left with no doubt what I think of their unsollicited opinion - in either language
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