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So every company in the Netherlands has a VAT-number, which I also have and which identifies me at the tax authorities.
The issue with these VAT-numbers is that it contains people's citizen service number, which is used by the government to uniquely identify a person.
It's also used on passports and banks and doctors must use it too.
Other companies may not ask for, or use, your citizen number (although it used to be on my salary specification, what's up with that?)
Anyway, there's no need to give it to everyone you do business with, which is what you do with your VAT-number because it must be placed on invoices.
So the Dutch tax authorities just send me a new VAT-number which does not include my personal ID.
Which is great, except... I'm supposed to share this new number with my clients, starting next year.
But I still have to use the old number for any correspondence with the tax authorities...
So now I have TWO NUMBERS!
My guess is that my old ID is a primary key in a SQL database, which they can't just change for so many users (and that's why you shouldn't use functional keys as primary keys).
Because their internal software uses the old ID everywhere they can't just change it to look at the new ID (although how hard can it be?).
The new ID is just a new field that's right next to the old ID.
So now everyone just has two IDs because that's certainly more maintainable.
The tax authorities had this slogan, freely translated, "we can't make it more fun, but we can make it easier."
Apparently, they can't make it easier either
I have a "personal ID".
My company has a "VAT ID", which includes the personal ID.
To get rid of the personal ID in the VAT ID I got a new VAT ID for my company.
But I also still have to use the old VAT ID.
So now I have one personal ID and two VAT IDs for my company.
The two VAT IDs have the same purpose, except one is used for communication with tax authorities while the other is used for communication with clients.
can this have to do with form of business you established? In Germany we have a a special form called "Kleingewerbe", which essentially translates to small business. There is cap on the allowed turnover you can make. Anyhow, as the owner of such a small business you are allowed to use your private tax id number or alternatively apply for a "Umsatzsteuer-ID-Nr" which comes with some benefits and also some drawbacks I'd rather not get into now for brevity.
Maybe you have something similar in the Netherlands?
"I had the right to remain silent, but I didn't have the ability!"
Nope, it's really just a replacement except they're keeping the old number around too.
I've never heard of such things in the Netherlands (although that doesn't say much).
Is it like the difference between a GmbH, mbH, gGmbH etc.?
My guess is that my old ID is a primary key in a SQL database
I think you give them too much credit. More likely, it's a non-index field splattered across hundreds of tables in a completely denormalized way, without any naming consistency and certainly no foreign key references or integrity checks.
Or even better, it's all stored as ISAM data with a COBOL back end processing CSV formatted records.
This is based on my experience (no, not 30 years ago, but ONE year ago) on how the insurance industry and related industries, like risk rating systems, work. It's funny (actually not) looking at the REST API's that thinly wrap what is obviously callbacks into the archaic COBOL record management system.
Thank god I'm not working in that industry anymore. Never again!
The number that you give customers (on your invoices) is no longer the number you use to deal with the government.
Makes it that little bit harder to impersonate - a scammer trying to receive say your refund (if they intercepted your mail), or a scammer contacting you pretending to be the govt in their correspondence (i.e. it won't have that number ("re: your account: 123456" - that they pulled from your invoice) that is between just you and the govt).
The number of times I have heard "but it will never change" over the years is frightening. The user demand that a phone number/user name/country name/postcode etc be used as a primary key has annoyed me for decades and it still keeps happening.
A couple of years ago I walked away from a project because the PM insisted that all lookup master tables use the string as the PK.
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity -
I'm old. I know stuff - JSOP
Yeah, I know!
I once had a discussion with a "database specialist" (a name that he got because he couldn't write code, but he could write SQL ) and he really made it a point that we should make some functional field a PK, but only in that one table.
He wasn't susceptible to any logic like "but we shouldn't use a functional key in case the functionality changes" (will never happen), "but it's inconsistent with the rest of the database" and "but using an arbitrary ID isn't more complicated for me, the developer, while it gives us all flexibility in the future"
That whole project never finished and the client got all his money back.
I quit the company before that time though
Got my first "social insurance number" (SSN) at 15 for a part-time job. Everyone gets one eventually if they expect anything to do with government.
Then with the equivalent of VAT (i.e. GST) every corp and self-employed got a "business number" (BN).
It's all about "entities".
My SSN represents "me", so I can collect benefits and pay taxes, and deals with "employee / employer" relationships..
My "self-employed / professional" BN gets me to file GST, but allows me to report that on my personal (SSN) filings.
My "corporate" BN was used to create an entity that was needed to deal with companies that would only deal with other corps while flowing all that income to my "self-employed" BN so I wouldn't have to do a pile of corporate filings (i.e. zero net income for the corp).
It was only in wine that he laid down no limit for himself, but he did not allow himself to be confused by it.
― Confucian Analects: Rules of Confucius about his food