SIB knowledge vouchers

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Starters International Business (SIB)

Do you want to establish or enhance your company’s position on a foreign market, but you need fiscal or legal support to do it? A knowledge voucher will help you cover the cost of hiring an international lawyer or tax consultant.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has created the Knowledge Acquisition Vouchers programme to help companies improve their position in the foreign market. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl) is implementing this programme on behalf of the ministry.

You can apply for a knowledge voucher for things like:

  • assessing existing contracts or drawing up new contracts;
  • utilising general terms and conditions in export transactions;
  • registering a brand;
  • advice on tax rates and double taxation;
  • setting up a foreign entity;
  • other legal or tax knowledge aimed at sustainable internationalisation, such as transfer pricing or employment law.

The services that can be accessed through the voucher are not designed for meeting permanent or regular needs of the voucher applicant. They also do not form part of normal services for the voucher applicant, such as routine tax consultancy, normal legal advice or advertising. Excluded are also the draw-up of a business plan and applications for a foreign bank account.

For whom are the vouchers intended?

The knowledge voucher is intended for Dutch SME businesses with (some) international experience that, prior to the application, have already set their sights on a specific foreign market they have not entered into before. The SME test will show you whether your organisation meets the criteria for an SME business.

Value of knowledge voucher and budget

The voucher gives you remuneration for 50% of the costs, up to a maximum of €2,500 excluding VAT. This is equal to around 40 consultancy hours. Only one voucher is supplied for each SME business or group or fiscal unit to which an SME business belongs.

The budget for the knowledge vouchers in 2017 is €0.9 million.

External expert

The external expert you hire must meet the following criteria:

  • The expert works at a consultancy company with legal and/or tax knowledge, with a minimum of 5 employees.
  • The expert has more than 5 years’ experience in the field of advising on legal and/or tax issues in the field of international business.
  • The expert has professional and intellectual ability at, as a minimum, HBO (higher professional education) level.

Applying for a knowledge voucher

You can apply for the knowledge voucher (in Dutch) at the website mijn.rvo.nl. RVO.nl processes all applications in the order they are received. Date of receipt is taken to be the date on which you submitted the application in full. Following receipt RVO.nl will assess your application and will send you a decision within 13 weeks.

When applying for the knowledge voucher you must state who the legal and/or tax adviser is and what activities this expert will carry out. There are no additional limitations on sectors and/or countries. You must submit an offer and a CV of the external expert. In the offer we would also like to see a specification of the services that will be supplied together with the corresponding amounts. The offer must not be older than three months.

Validity

A voucher is valid for 6 months. The activities for which the voucher is supplied must take place within this period. This period of validity may, on request, be extended once by a maximum of 6 months. A voucher is not transferrable.

After completion of the work

Following submission of the final report, you hand the voucher to the adviser as a proof of the delivered service. The adviser redeems the knowledge voucher from RVO.nl. You pay the adviser 50% of the costs, up to a maximum of €2,500 excluding VAT.

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