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The Annual Financial Statements in the Netherlands

The Annual Financial Statements in the Netherlands

Updated on Tuesday 14th March 2017

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What is a financial statement?

 

A financial statement is a formal document where all financial activities of a business are described in an easy-to-understand manner. Every corporate entity in the Netherlands is legally compelled to fill in financial statements.  Foreign companies that file their financial statements in their home country must also register a copy to the Dutch Trade Register of the Chamber of Commerce. Branches are not required to prepare their own financial statements.

 

The roles of financial statements

 

The financial statements have two purposes: reporting to the shareholders and creditor protection. After receiving the financial statements, the shareholders may decide whether to continue the collaboration with the board of directors or to discharge them, all based on their performance in the previous year.  As for the second role, every company must be registered with the Trade Register, which is maintained by the government and where all companies and their key details are listed. Companies must publish financial information on an annual basis.

 

The Commercial Trade Register

 

In the Netherlands, the Trade Register is regulated by the Commercial Registers Act of 8 February 1996, followed by a new Commercial Registers Act that came into effect on 1 July 2008. The institution responsible for the administration of the Commercial Register is the Chambers of Commerce. The register is open for public access and information can be requested from the commercial register for a fee.
 
In the Netherlands, the financial statement filled for the Trade Register must contain the registered office, ownership details, details regarding authority, and the annual accounts. The Dutch law imposes that all private limited liability companies (BVs), public limited liability companies limited by shares (NVs), cooperatives and all mutual benefit companies to file a financial report with the Chamber of Commerce each financial year.

 

The procedure for filling financial statements

 

The management must prepare the annual financial statements within five months from the end of the financial year and submit them to the shareholders for adoption. As an exception, the shareholders may grant a postponement which cannot be extended for more than six months. The shareholders must adopt the financial statements within two months from their registration. The adopted annual financial statements must be filed with the Chamber of Commerce within eight days of adoption.

 

What happens if the filling of financial statements is delayed?

 

If the financial statements are delayed but the shareholders will approve them shortly, then the management must register them with the Chamber of Commerce no later than seven months (or thirteen months, if the maximum extension applies) after the balance sheet date.

If the company delays filling in the financial statements more than thirteen months, it may receive penalties for the economic offence. The Economic Investigation Service in the Netherlands might conduct an investigation that might result in a criminal conviction from the Courts, and eventually in a fine. If the company goes bankrupt and fails to file the financial statements or these are filed late then the management of the company will probably be held liable for all the bankrupt company’s remaining debts.

We invite you to watch a video about the annual financial statements in the Netherlands:

 

 

Cost of filling financial statements  

 

The costs of registration are included in an annual contribution and depend on the legal form of the entity and the number of employees. For further details and customized information contact our team of accountants in Netherlands. We offer qualified consultancy and advice related to legal matters concerning registration and filling in financial statements.

 

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