Belgium is notorious for red tape, high taxes and social security charges, which can make things slight confusing for those expats hoping to become self-employed. Don’t worry though, it is possible, and there are over 600,000 people living here that have done it (1 in 10 of which are non-Belgians), and you can too.
There are a number of things to consider initially:
Is the activity part- or full-time?
Are you planning on working as a freelancer?
Will this be a complementary activity in addition to a salaried one?
Do you intend on setting up a company?
Are you an assisted spouse?
How do I become self-employed in Belgium?
You have to register with the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises to get a company identification number. To do so, you must be able to demonstrate sufficient management skills and, for some regulated activities, you will need specific qualifications. It costs €82.50.
Can I be an employee and self-employed at the same time?
If you work at least half-time as an employee, you can become self-employed as a secondary occupation. Again, you will need to sign up with the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises to receive your company identification number.
It is vital that you have enough capital in order to comfortably begin your new venture as you will be expected to pay your own social security costs on a quarterly basis. Anyone who is subject to the social security system and pays social contributions has access to a social protection scheme including paid leave, incapacity benefits, unemployment benefits, maternity leave and your retirement pension. The social protection scheme for self-employed workers is somewhat less extensive.
For more information on self-employment social security in Belgium, contact Hughes Thibaut, International Affairs Manager at Group S – email@example.com, +32.2.507.18.80
Photo: Shimelle Laine/Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons
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