28 September 2020

4 Upcoming Legislative Amendments in 2020

Category: UBO registry

One of the most important legislative changes to be aware of is the introduction of the UBO-register (UBO – Ultimate Beneficial Owner). As of 27 September, many organizations in the Netherlands are obliged to register the natural persons who have more than 25% of the economic interest in their organization, in the UBO-register. Why was this registration obligation imposed? The obligation stems from certain European regulations, the purpose of which is to combat financial and economic crime, such as the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing.

Because the register makes it transparent which individuals are actually in control of organizations established in the Netherlands, individuals can no longer hide their financial and economic crime behind legal entities. The registration obligation applies to unlisted BV’s (private limited liability companies) and NV’s (public limited liability companies); foundations (stichtingen), associations (verenigingen) and other legal entities; Partnerships; shipping entities (rederijen); European public limited companies (SEs) and European cooperative societies (SCEs) with their registered office in the Netherlands; and Dutch-qualified Public Benefit Organizations (Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling (ANBI)

Importantly, a part of the UBO data will be publicly accessible. This will enable third parties and organizations to make a more informed choice about who they want to do business with. The register will also be managed by the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel). Existing entities must register their UBOs with the Chamber of Commerce by the end of March 2022, while newly established entities in the Netherlands will have to do so upon their first registration in the trade register. Going forward, the registration of UBO-information will be a prerequisite to the incorporation process with the Chamber of Commerce.

Read further here about the consequences of the UBO-Register.

Neutral packaging for cigarettes

Various measures have been introduced over the years to reduce the number of smokers. For example, in April last year the excise duty on cigarettes increased once again and since July 2019, cigarettes can no longer be openly put on display in supermarkets. A new measure will now be introduced from 1 October 2020. Smoking products may only be sold in neutral dark green-brown packaging without any distinctive branding in the form of colors and fonts on the packaging. A standard package may thus only contain the brand name, brand variant, producer data and the barcode in a set color, font and size. The exact effective date of this legislative amendment is not yet known, however, new measures are also expected to be implemented in the new year, such as the extension of the ban on display to kiosks, petrol stations and evening stores from the 1st of January.

Family of foreign, self-employed persons

Family members of a foreign self-employed person may work as an employee in the Netherlands, without additional papers, from the 1st of October. Currently, employers need to apply for a work permit if they want to employ persons from outside the European Economic Area. This permit however will no longer be required for family members of a foreign self-employed person after 1 October 2020. Similarly, the effective date of this legislative amendment is not yet final.

Ban on sale of fireworks

From the 1st of December 2020, a ban will enter into force for the sale of certain categories of firecrackers and flares to consumers. Importers and Sellers will thus be directly affected but consumers will also be prohibited from purchasing these products. In order to compensate retailers and fireworks manufacturers in the Netherlands, a subsidy scheme is currently being created by the central government. The effective date of this legislative amendment is once again not yet known.