Costs Dutch company register only half of total expenses Chamber of Commerce

The costs the Dutch Chamber of Commerce makes to maintain and develop the Dutch company register are only half of the total expenses the Chamber of Commerce makes. The direct and indirect costs of this legal duty in 2014 amount to €92,5m of a total €181m. This becomes evident from the statements of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, which until now had not been fully disclosed. The Chamber of Commerce earned more than €125m from the company register in 2014.

In 2014 the indirect costs of the registration task were €51,8m (Klant Contact Centrum) and the indirect costs €40,7m, of which €16,3m ICT and €13,6m for facilitary services, housing and procurement. The Chamber of Commerce received specifically for the company register €59m directly from the central government and through the sale of products (HR Information products, Exportdocuments) it earned some €56m. Registration fees amounts to €9,9m.

Dutch companies registers costs more than open company registers

The costs of exploitation of the Dutch company register are more than company registers in the United Kingdom and Australia where data is available for free in machine-readable formats. In the UK, the company register costs €84,4m and in Australia €71,4m annually. Despite the 172 FTE more at the British Companies House it costs €8,1m less than the Dutch company register maintained by the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. The Australian Business Register works with 374 FTE.

Access company register limited through fees

Due to the availability of company information as open data in the UK and Australia, information from the company registers are requested much more often than information from the company register maintained by the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. Online access in the Netherlands to information from the company register through the website of the Chamber of Commerce was 15 million. At Companies House this information was accessed 291 million times and the Australian Business Register some 137 million times.

The number of new business registrations does not affect the costs of the company registers. In the UK, twice as much as businesses are newly registered (585,741) and in Australia (761,697) more than three times as much, compared to the Netherlands (238,402). In total in the Dutch company register 2,6m; in the UK 3,4m and in Australia 1,7 businesses are registered.

The current way of financing the company register in the Netherlands is a major obstacle to the (re)use of data from the company register. Open State Foundation has requested through a FOIA request information on the financial costs and benefits of the company register.