There are several necessary tasks to be undertaken when you move to a new country. But as once you have these in-hand then everything else can follow more slowly. One of the first tasks to undertake is obtaining a Dutch Tax number which is very important for everyday administrative life. Everyone living in The Netherlands is obliged to have a Dutch tax number.
About The Dutch Tax Number
Also known as burgerservicenummer / BSN / sofi-number, the tax number is linked into many other things. You cannot arrange health insurance without it and your Dutch bank will freeze your account if you don’t provide them with the number within a set period of time after opening your account. Your employer needs it for you to go onto Dutch payroll and some companies won’t consider you for a job interview if you are already living here and have not yet arranged a tax number. It is needed for a mortgage, to apply for unemployment benefit, to exchange your driving licence or for submitting a tax return. If you have children, their numbers need to be provided for them to attend school.
Tax Number for Short Term Residents / Commuters
Even if you are resident in The Netherlands for a short period of time you do still need a Dutch Tax number in order to legally be allowed to work or study here. This is also the case for commuters who are regularly working here but still live elsewhere. Or for international students and interns planning to only be here a few months.
For those here for 4 months or less there is a different process than longer term residents. Information is available for how to apply in these circumstances on the IN Amsterdam website.
Applying for Your Tax Number / Documents needed
Within Amsterdam your tax number can be arranged either at IN Amsterdam (close to Zuid station) or at the local city hall. Every family member who is living here needs their own number and should attend the appointment in person with the relevant documents. It is not possible to receive a tax number on behalf of someone who is not present, even for a baby or very small child
You do need an appointment for your first registration but which location you visit will depends on both your personal circumstances and appointment availability.
If you are relocating for an employer then often they or a relocation company will arrange the appointment during one of your first days in The Netherlands. They will explain the documents to bring. More detailed information can also be found on the appointment confirmation but will be along the lines of the following:
- Original passport or national ID card
- Printed proof of residential address in the Netherlands or a permission to register temporarily at another address eg an employer’s office address
- Internationally accepted original of each person’s birth certificate and any marriage/ divorce certificate applicable
- Bank or credit card to pay the fee (if incurred at IN Amsterdam).
If you don’t have the right version of your certificate you should still be able to register and receive the BSN but you will be asked to return later. The official rules regarding certificates are available from INAmsterdam or the IND but it is sensible to check the exact requirements at the location you register since smaller municipalities especially may have a different interpretation. You normally need an appointment for the return visit to present the correct certificates.
Receiving the BSN at INAmsterdam
If you are being assisted by a relocation company or your employer has arranged the appointment then often this takes place at INAmsterdam . The office is located close to Zuid station and you can normally expect to meet any relocation consultant or colleague who is accompanying you outside the Starbucks at this station.
Only some new arrivals in The Netherlands can register at INAmsterdam. You can come here as an employee of certain companies, if you are a scientific researcher, an international entrepreneur or an international graduate. The INAmsterdam website details the requirements and if you meet them you can also make an appointment via their site.
If you register using an Amaterdam address then you normally receive your tax number during the appointment. But if you use an address in another municipality (e.g. Hoofddorp) then the number will be sent to you later. Some municipalities send it via email and others by post. You can register at INAmsterdam if using an address in several different cities, towns and municipalities including Haarlem, Amstelveen and Hoofddorp.
There is normally a fee payable per person for registering at INAmsterdam. Some employers do have an arrangement so that this gets invoiced to them direct. If not then you need to pay at the appointment It is only possible to pay by credit or debit card – INAmsterdam does not accept cash. Check their website for details of the current amounts.
Receiving the BSN from a City Hall
You can also obtain your BSN by registering at a City Hall.
For Amsterdam you first call to make an appointment. You should contact them on Tel 14020 within 5 days of arriving in The Netherlands, although depending on availability the appointment may not be possible within those 5 days. They are open 8am until 8pm Monday through to Friday. If you register at the City Hall you can expect to receive your BSN a few days later sent to the residential address you registered at. There is no charge at City Hall but there may be a wait for the first available appointment.
If you are registering at an address outside of Amsterdam e.g. in Haarlem or Hoofddorp then you register at the City Hall in that location.