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Written by:
Sean-Paul Smit


Value-added tax registration number enables citizen service number to be traced

Should sole traders be granted exemption from the obligation to post their value-added tax registration number on their web site? This question is being addressed by the Dutch Data Protection Authority, which in recent times has been on the receiving end of frequent comments from the self-employed community on how disturbingly easy it is to construe citizen service numbers from tax registration numbers where the traders in question are self-employed. All traders are under the obligation to include their value-added tax registration number in the invoices they raise (and post it on their web site if they have one), and sole traders are no exception. As the value-added tax registration codes for sole traders are citizen service number based (unlike the value-added tax registration codes of other businesses, which are not), the upshot is that these unique and very personal details end up virtually exposed.

An especially strict regime applies to the use of personal details of a particular nature. The privacy risks are huge, identity fraud being just one example.

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Dutch version: BSN in BTW-nummer

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