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Should i start up in the UK or Netherlands? Or?

Moved to the Netherlands but still hoping to run a UK business from here...advice needed.

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Hello everyone, i would greatly appreciate some well needed advice.

I have been working on a business plan on and of for a long time with the help of free startup programmes. I was just about to apply for finance and start my business when my girl friend got offered a job that she could not refuse in the Netherlands. We have now moved to Amsterdam with the aim of staying here a year or 2. We also have the option of moving country every year or 2 as the company she works for has locations all around the globe and have already expressed that they are looking for someone to head her department in Italy.

This has thrown a spanner in the works as they say and left me really uncertain as what the best set up is for me at the moment.

The advice i was given by the free startup advisor was just to start my business in the UK and run it from abroad especially seeing as i may not even be in the Netherlands full time but the more i look into this the harder it seems to be.

I went to a tax advisor in Amsterdam. He advised that if i was to set up an LTD in the UK that in order to show both the UK and Dutch government that it is being run from the UK that i would have to make a few business trips a month and to keep air line receipts as proof that i am indeed running the company from the UK and not from Amsterdam. If i could not prove that the business was indeed being run from the country in which it is registered then the Dutch tax office would count my business as being Dutch operated and therefore i would have to register a dutch BV (LTD) and close down the UK business altogether.

I went back home and spoke with the business advisor again and told him what i was told and he just shrugged and just said that he thought if you have a business in the UK you can run it from anywhere you want as long as you pay income tax to the country that you are currently living in but the corporation tax would still be paid to the UK.

I am now at a total loss as what to do as I can not even get straight answers for what i thought was a fairly basic question.

Ideally i would like to start and keep running a UK LTD for many reasons. First of all i speak the language, its cheap to start, i have credit history there, my business plan is in pounds and have the option of applying for a start up loan.

In Amsterdam it costs a lot just to even open a BV, i am not sure if i can get access to capital, all legal documents are in dutch which i do not speak and the corporation tax is higher. Without startup capital i can not even start the business...

I just want to know what my options are, does anyone have any experience in this?

Perhaps there are better ways that i do not know of? Estonion E residency?

I know i do not want to have to open and close a business every few years every time i move...

The business itself is a small group tour company offering small tours around Europe.

Thank you very much for your help, it is really appreciated.


Replies (7)

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By Accountant A
09th Jun 2019 23:09

ItsBusinessTime wrote:

The advice i was given by the free startup advisor ...

I am now at a total loss as what to do as I can not even get straight answers for what i thought was a fairly basic question. 

You have had no luck with your free advice to date so what makes you think the free advice on here will be any better?

Pay for some professional advice for someone competent who can spend time understanding you and your issues.

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Replying to Accountant A:
By ItsBusinessTime
10th Jun 2019 02:40

The free advice was given to me on a business course run by the UK government and i did pay for advice in Amsterdam. They booth took time to understand and guide me yet they both gave me differing and conflicting advice. I did not see the harm in asking on here.

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Replying to ItsBusinessTime:
By Duggimon
10th Jun 2019 10:44

The free advice from the UK is definitely wrong. I can't speak for the Dutch advice as I am not a Dutch adviser.

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By Tim Vane
09th Jun 2019 23:23

There is nothing to stop you starting up a UK company and running it from the Netherlands. You might have difficulty setting up a UK bank account for the company without a UK resident director but if you shop around you may find a friendly bank. You would obviously need to comply with all UK company regulations.

For tax purposes the company would almost certainly be resident in (and therefore taxable in) the Netherlands (I am not as confident as your Dutch adviser that regular trips to the UK and back would be enough to constitute UK control for the purposes of the DTA tie breaker but I have not read the relevant DTA recently). In addition to advice from your Dutch adviser you should definitely take professional advice from a UK accountant with a good knowledge of non residence matters (in my experience most small UK accountants do NOT have an adequate grasp of the complexities and many will make a mess of things).

If you can find a UK resident person to share responsibility for the company you might find things much easier, but don't go down that route without sound legal advice.

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Replying to Tim Vane:
By ItsBusinessTime
10th Jun 2019 02:46

Hi Tim thanks very much for your input.

I think i will have to begin my search for someone who does specialise in non resident tax and take it from there! You are right, many who i have spoken to really have not been able to properly advise me.

I just want to make sure i am doing things right!

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Replying to ItsBusinessTime:
By Matrix
10th Jun 2019 07:27

If you set up in the UK but end up paying taxes overseas then you will have two lots of accounting fees and compliance. I would go back to the Dutch adviser and ask how much it would cost to file Dutch taxes for a UK company, how much it would cost if it was a Dutch BV, how it would work if you left the Netherlands and whether it would be possible to just pay taxes as self-employed there (without using a corporate vehicle, this may be less expensive for a start up).

The UK fees would generally be £1,000+ for the annual compliance plus fees for the non-resident advice.

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By accountantccole
10th Jun 2019 12:32

If you are moving countries regularly a UK co might be flexible to move with you, but at the very least if you are working remotely for any length of time,you are likely to create branches in each country you are working. Ideally you want to have a UK based team member to justify any non Netherlands share of profits.

You need to be making enough money to warrant the complexities and costs of producing sets of accounts in two countries.

Look at the practicalities too. Where do you stand with healthcare etc without an entity in the Netherlands. With Brexit looming you may well lose rights to stay/healthcare etc without having a formal set up locally

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