Brexit has been a hot topic more than once in the last few weeks. The negotiations over a soft or hard Brexit raise a great deal of questions, also in relation to business here in the Netherlands.
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With its attractive economic climate, the Netherlands has become one of the most attractive EU-members to settle international business entities. These international companies may also benefit from the Dutch range in banks, as the Netherlands is home to some of the world’s most renowned banks. These are complemented by Dutch banks, such as ABN-AMRO, ING Bank and Rabobank.
Expats or companies residing in the Netherlands, need a bank account in the Netherlands to pay/receive salaries, rent etc. Yet, as a foreign entrepreneur, it can be quite challenging to open a bank account in the Netherlands, since there are some hurdles along the way.
On September 11, only a week before this year’s Prinsjesdag, the Dutch Lower House adopted two parliamentary motions. Along with consenting to an investigation into trust sector domiciliation, the Lower House has also agreed to examine if foundations will have to file annual accounts from now on.
Leaving Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley has long been the de facto location for budding startups to set their roots and grow into multimillion-dollar businesses, but it may not be the capital of blockchain technology. As of July 2017, 62 out of the 105 total U.S. companies valued at over $1B are located in California. To put that into perspective, New York has the second highest amount with only 15 businesses.
However, with the power of decentralization, blockchain-based startups are proving that you can find success outside of the Silicon Valley bubble. Cities around the world, whether it be through looser regulations, strong financial ties, or some unknown factors, have started vying for the title of “capital of blockchain” and are emerging as meccas for young cryptocurrency companies. Although a forerunner hasn’t emerged yet, there are a few regions beginning to develop as hot spots for this new innovation.
Flying under the radar, Chicago is quickly building itself to be a world leader in cryptocurrency. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) were two of the first U.S. financial exchanges to support Bitcoin futures trading.
Lesser known, the Illinois government was one of the first to embrace blockchain technology by forming the Illinois Blockchain Initiative (IBI). The IBI is a dedicated approach to:
Create non-onerous legislation surrounding the technology,
Perform blockchain pilot programs within government organizations, and
Develop the blockchain ecosystem in Chicago.
The Chicago Blockchain Center (CBC) is spearheading objective number three. The CBC hosts developer workshops and meetups as well as supports local startups through incubation. All of this combined has led to the growth of a large blockchain community in the Windy City.
In fact, Chicago is a leader in venture-backed blockchain startups. Chicago companies have raised over $69 million to date – more than three times the amount of Austin, Denver, and Seattle combined.
Notable Companies/Projects: Bloq, CFX Markets
Fielding refugees from San Francisco’s inflated housing market, Austin is carving a niche for itself with blockchain startups. Having no income tax and a natural Libertarian attitude, the state capital is primed for crypto-minded entrepreneurs.
The city has hosted the Texas Bitcoin Conference since 2014 but more famously brings in hundreds of thousands of attendees for South by Southwest (SXSW) each spring. Although not focused on cryptocurrency, SXSW this year included several speakers and panels focused on blockchain and its impact on other industries.
As one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., it wouldn’t be surprising to see Austin solidify itself as the place to settle down a cryptocurrency headquarters.
Notable Companies/Projects: Factom, Wanchain
New York City, USA
Although many have fled due to the implementation of its BitLicense, New York is still a hotbed for blockchain innovation. With deep roots in financial markets, it’s only natural that the Big Apple is home to some of the most well-known crypto companies and exchanges.
Beyond New York’s sheer population dominance over other cities, it also hosts one of the largest blockchain conferences in the world – Consensus. This year, the conference has even expanded to an entire “Blockchain Week”. CoinDesk and the New York City Economic Development Corporation have partnered to organize the week’s events with the goal of making NYC a global blockchain capital.
With massive amounts of investment capital and the Winklevoss twins leading the charge for self-regulation, New York City could easily become the new capital of blockchain.
Notable Companies/Projects: Gemini, Blockstack, Consensys
A country rather than a city, Singapore is a strong magnet for companies looking to ICO. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has stated time and again that they have no plans to regulate the industry and instead provide ample support.
They’ve embraced the new tech in an experimental project, Ubin. The project is in partnership with R3, and the goal is to “explore the use of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) for clearing and settlement of payments and securities.” Although not directly affecting regulation, Ubin helps members of the MAS further understand blockchain and the value it can bring.
The MAS has even gone further by allocating $150 million towards FinTech projects in the country.
Singapore also is home to FinTech Festival – the largest FinTech conference in the world. Over 30 thousand people from around the globe participate in the festival, bringing loads of talent to the small nation.
Notable Companies/Projects: Digix, TenX, Zilliqa
Already commonly called ‘Crypto Valley’, Zug is the current leader for the capital of blockchain title, and it’s clear why. Switzerland has historically been fairly lenient when it comes to banking and financial regulations.
On top of that, Zug has some of the lowest taxes in the nation and has taken a business-friendly approach to cryptocurrency. The government supports citizens paying in Bitcoin for some services and also uses Ethereum in a digital ID system.
Bitcoin Suisse, the financial service provider behind numerous high profile ICOs (Status, OmiseGo, SingularityNET) also calls Zug home.
Entrepreneurs in the area have formed the Crypto Valley Association to help foster growth of the ecosystem. This association collaborates with partners around the world and works with the local government to create fair blockchain regulations. Even so, the canton is far from having all the answers on how to regulate this new asset class. It’s a good sign, though, that government officials are openly working with the people that it affects most.
Notable Companies/Projects: Bitcoin Suisse, Xapo, ShapeShift, Monetas, Tezos
Decentralizing the Capital of Blockchain
These are just a few of the regions making a name for themselves in the blockchain space. With the decentralized nature of the industry, it’s entirely possible that one single “capital of blockchain” never surfaces. And, that’s a good thing.
In the end, we’re all on the same team. Projects should continue to collaborate across borders to ensure the success of the entire industry. Because when blockchain wins, we all win.
For further information about blockchains and the public policy regarding cryptocurrencies, please contact us via email@example.com.
This article by Steven Buchko was originally published at CoinCentral.com.
If you are an international entrepreneur thinking of expanding in Asia, then we suggest that you consider Singapore. This cosmopolitan metropolis has successfully managed to reconcile traditional Asian characteristics with a modern Western appearance. Thus, while Singapore still highly values the welfare of the community, it is, with the aid of digital progress, winning the centuries-old battle for new chances and a better life. Furthermore, this modernization has ensured considerable improvements in working life. Here, we set out the advantages for you of doing business in Singapore.
Languages in Singapore
Along with the local dialects, Malay and Tamil, the Singaporean population also speaks Mandarin and English. Through this, the country can act as a gateway to both China and the West. Above all, all government institutions, courts and schools, as well as the business world, use English as the main language. Consequently, there is no question of a language barrier.
Business in Singapore
Love of country
It is not difficult to become enamoured with Singapore, with its beautiful nature and sophisticated facilities. If you are in the presence of Singaporean clients, never forget to mention the beauty of their country. Singaporeans are very patriotic. Therefore, criticism will not be appreciated if you are asked for your opinion about their country, which often happens at the start of a meeting. Watch out, however, that your praise doesn’t become too familiar. Similarly, digressions about family matters, religion and/or politics are not appropriate.
One of the great advantages of Singapore is the extreme importance that its people attach to order and punctuality. You will not be made to wait for a business associate. You can also assume that the meeting will proceed pleasantly, as Singaporeans will never raise their voice or show that they are in bad humour when they do business. This friendly atmosphere is confirmed with the exchanging of business gifts. These gifts symbolize the hope for successful business contacts and an amicable relationship. The line between being colleagues and friends is thus thin. When a business meeting concludes, it is, for example, customary to eat together to strengthen the personal connection. After that, you should continue your discussion for at least an hour.
In doing business in Singapore, one also sees the productive intertwining of traditional values and modern ideals coming to the fore. Thus, the clear hierarchical structure is an unmistakeable testament to Asian culture. The boss enjoys the most respect and authority. Nevertheless, in this aspect, Singapore appears to be more progressive than many “modern” Western countries. After all, there is no glass ceiling in Singapore. Through this, women have no difficulty in assuming important roles in company life.
If the productive trade climate or the versatile culture and nature have still not been able to convince you to do business in Singapore, then maybe the government can change your mind. The local government, in particular, offers various subsidies and tax provisions to native and foreign companies that set up in Singapore.
If setting up a business in Singapore is only the beginning for your international adventurers, we advise you to consider incorporating a Dutch affiliate. The Dutch entity then operates as a gateway to Europe. Moreover, besides economic, cultural and practical advantages of the Netherlands, this offers you undeniable fiscal opportunities. Not only does the Dutch-Singaporean tax treaty grants you the opportunity to avoid double taxation, taxes in the Netherlands itself progressive as well.
Therefore, do not hesitate to contact us for more information about international business or doing business in Singapore and/or in the Netherlands. We are only too glad to be of assistance.
The new coalition agreement rocked the boat in the Netherlands. Especially the alleged abolishment of the dividend withholding tax made a wave. By abolishing this tax, government Rutte III hopes to attract more international entrepreneurs to the Netherlands. Even the renowned tv-host Lubach discussed the country’s international appeal in his show Zondag met Lubach. He illustrated his point of view with the DTS-page on European tax rates. Whether or not the final ruling of the First Chamber might put the people at ease, remains yet to be seen.
The new year usually comes with new resolutions and plans. This isn’t any less true for the Dutch government. It plans on several law adjustments that will be in effect starting January 1, 2018. Among these adjustments are tax changes.
The resolution behind these changes is the aim to improve the Netherlands’ fiscal climate. In order to achieve this ambitious plan, the government will adapt corporate income tax, dividend tax and VAT. Furthermore, there are several other rearrangements concerning multinationals.
The most relevant of tax changes are discussed below.
First of all, the government hopes to attract foreign entrepreneurs by lowering the corporate tax rates. Starting January 2019, the rates will decrease with 1.5%-points. By 2021, this should result in 16% of taxable profit up to EUR 200 000 and 21% of the taxable profits exceeding this limit. In addition, the government will raise the corporate tax rate of the innovation box from 5% to 7%.
VAT rates will increase as well. In 2018 tax authorities will demand 9% instead of 6% VAT.
Dividend tax, on the other hand, will be abolished altogether by January 2018. To prevent tax abuse, however, companies will still be subjected to withholding tax on outgoing interest and royalty flows to low tax jurisdictions.
Finally, the Dutch government officially pronounced to reduce the 30% ruling term to five years. This decree will be in effect starting January 1, 2018. It is one of the measures to restrict expats’ tax benefits.
If you have more questions regarding these and other fiscal adjustments, please feel free to contact us. We are happy to assist you.
Great News! The draft bill concerning the Dutch withholding tax contains several decrees that both tightens and broadens the Dutch dividend withholding tax exemption has been sent to parliament. It provides for relief from double taxation in genuine corporate structures.
This legislation makes the Netherlands more attractive for corporate structures.
The Netherlands love their expats. The Dutch ones abroad, but even more so the foreign ones over here. To attract highly skilled and well-paid professionals, the Dutch Tax Authorities grant them the so-called 30% ruling. The 30% ruling seems as simple as it is attractive: 30% of your salary will not be taxed.
I can’t possibly say it is not attractive. Getting and keeping it, however, may be tricky. We have seen applications been turned down for lack of evidence; we have met expat paying thousands of euros too much tax for lack of trying.
Of course, there are conditions: you have to make more than EUR 52.699 (gross) annually; you have to have lived more than 150 kilometres (93 miles) from the Dutch border for at least two-thirds of the 24 months before starting your job in The Netherlands; and if you are a football player, you have to be a pretty good one.
Just to give you an idea: at a EUR 100.000 income, the Netherlands 30% ruling saves the expat 8 years * 15.000 = EUR 120.000. That is worth a try, isn’t it? Moreover, that is worth letting an experienced professional file the application.
Had I already mentioned that your bonus is included in this ruling? That you can transfer your 30% ruling to another employer, even if that employer is your own company? And that you do not have to report your capital to the Dutch Tax Authorities?
So: are you a foreigner working in The Netherlands, making more than EUR 52.699, and don’t you have the 30% ruling? Get in touch. Are you a foreigner considering working in The Netherlands? Get in touch. Are you an independent entrepreneur thinking of moving to The Netherlands? Do not hesitate to get in touch with us!