1. How does Belgian social security work for freelancers?
Social security in Belgium for the self-employed are usually calculated each quarter, meaning you will receive an invoice each March, June and October. If you start your business in the middle or at the end of a quarter, you will owe a contribution for the entire quarter.
Tip: Start your business at the beginning of the quarter as you’ll owe social security contributions for the entire quarter no matter when you start.
Why you need to pay social security contributions as a freelancer in Belgium
Your social security contribution is necessary for you to acquire social benefits that you would otherwise receive from your employer:
- Child support, maternity support, etc.
- Pension plan
- Reimbursement for medical care
- Financial benefits in case of illness, invalidity or other incapacity withholding you from practicing your job
- Financial benefits in case of bankruptcy or forced cessation
Be aware that even if you pay these social security contributions, the benefits you get from them in Belgium are minimal. Be sure to get additional insurances to make sure that you are covered in cases of, for instance, illness, pregnancy, the inability to work or when you retire.
You can be exempt from having to contribute to social security under certain circumstances. Please note that you will not build any social rights in Belgium if you are exempt.
- Your annual income is too low
- You are a student-entrepreneur
- You are unable to pay due to financial difficulties
Chances are that you have no right to social security in Belgium for the self-employed because you're self-employed part time and your yearly wages are too low. In that case, you'll enjoy social security benefits courtesy of your employer and you won't need the additional social security.
Make sure if you are exempt from paying social security contributions as a freelancer or any other type of entrepreneur, that you have back-up plans in place like extra insurance.
2. How do I calculate how much I will have to pay?
Whether you’re in IT or a different sector, social security as a freelancer works the same for all entrepreneurs in Belgium.
The big difference lies not in what you do, but how you do it. Your taxes and social security contributions are calculated based on these 2 factors:
- Company status: full time vs. part time
- Company form: sole proprietor vs. partnership vs. limited liability company vs. corporation vs. assisting spouse
Your company status
In Belgium, there are 2 main statuses for your company: full time and part time.
You are considered to be a full time entrepreneur when your business is your only source of income or you have an employer for fewer than 20 hours per week. For a full time entrepreneur, the minimum contribution per quarter is €698.05 (£600.97) and the maximum is €3,977.09 (£3,423.76).
You are considered a part time entrepreneur when you have a contract with an employer that is at least half time, meaning at least 20 hours per week. In that case, you will have to pay a minimum of €75.39 (£64.90) per quarter and a maximum of €3,977.09 (£3,423.76), depending on your yearly income.
Tip: Make sure you and your employer are on the same page about you working as a freelancer. Some employers might bar you from, for instance, freelancing in IT on your own time (especially if your freelance services match theirs), while others won’t object at all.
Link to 3 types of insurance every freelancer needs