Companies in Germany

If you want to work as a self-employed entrepreneur in Germany, you have to deal with German tax laws and the German social security system. Where you have to pay taxes depends on the individual case and is related to the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTA) that Germany and the Netherlands have concluded. If you have a permanent establishment in the Netherlands, you will most likely only have to pay tax in the Netherlands. If you earn less than 25% of your income in the Netherlands, you are covered by German social security. You will have to take care of your pension insurance yourself and take out health insurance in Germany. You will then no longer be subject to Dutch social security.

If you want to continue to use the Dutch health care system, you can take out voluntary health insurance with a German health insurance company. This will allow you to use the Dutch health care system (as if you were insured in the Netherlands).

Becoming an entrepreneur in Germany can be a complicated matter, so it is advisable to consult an accountant or tax adviser who specialises in insurance matters beforehand. They can also provide you with further information on the differences in tax deductions for a company car, for example.

You may be able to take out voluntary health insurance with a health insurance company or take out private insurance. If you take out voluntary insurance with a health insurance fund, you can also take out daily benefits insurance. In general, voluntary health insurance with a health insurance fund is more advantageous because you can then continue to use the healthcare system and the AWBZ in the Netherlands. This is not possible with private insurance.

You may be able to take out voluntary statutory pension insurance with the German pension insurance fund for both old-age pension, survivors’ pension and pension due to reduced earning capacity. Of course, you can also take out private pension insurance.

If, in addition to your entrepreneurial activity, you are also employed, the employment relationship determines where you are socially insured. The decision in this context is independent of whether you are also self-employed in Germany or the Netherlands.

Becoming self-employed or setting up a business in Germany

Other institutions are also involved in assisting entrepreneurs who want to work across the border. In the Netherlands you can get a lot of information from the Kamer van Koophandel, in Germany from the IHK (Chamber of Industry and Commerce) as well as the Kreishandwerkerschaft [district association of craftsmen], among others.

If you want to become self-employed or start a business in North Rhine-Westphalia, you can find a lot of information at the Einheitlichen Ansprechpartner [Single Point of Contact].

The Dutch government has set up a special website for entrepreneurs. There you will also find a lot of information about becoming an “entrepreneur in Germany:Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland. If you become liable for VAT in Germany, the tax office responsible for the Netherlands is Kleve: Kleve Tax Office. You can also find relevant information on the website of the Dutch tax authorities:Nederlandse belastingdienst.