freelance status


reading time: 3min | #freelancers 1TP5Starting as a freelancer | November 6, 2019 | Daan De Bock
You have your first work experience(s) behind you, you know your strengths & weaknesses and on top of that you have a few hours of time in addition to your regular job. What do you do? Freelancing as a part-time job, of course! But how do you get started? The following steps show you how to get started quickly.


Applying for secondary employment

Those who want to start as self-employed in a secondary occupation must first register with a enterprise counter and apply for a company number. This registration is 88.50 euros. After you have applied for your company number, you can also apply for a VAT number. There are 8 acknowledged enterprise counters, which have numerous offices in Belgium. Unfortunately, you can't go in there with the message: I want to become a freelancer in secondary occupation. For the simple reason that "freelancer in secondary occupation" is not a separate department. You have to complete the same formalities and meet the same conditions as a freelancer in main profession. For example, you also have to join a social insurance fund, open a professional current account and do your bookkeeping.

Becoming a freelancer in a secondary occupation means starting a secondary activity. Thus, you have a main activity in which you work at least half-time. Since most employees follow the 38-hour work week, it is consequently necessary to be registered with an employer for at least 19 hours.


Social contribution and taxes

Now that you've passed by the corporate office and have the necessary business in your pocket, it's time for Step 2:

Freelancers in main occupation pay quite a lot of social contributions. Since freelancers in main occupation pay their own social contributions and thus do not have an employer contributing for them. To enjoy exemption or reduced social contributions as a freelancer in a secondary occupation, you must present a certificate showing that you have a main activity to legally earn additional income or that you are entitled to a replacement income.

The percentage of social contributions for freelancers in main and secondary occupations is the same, though. You pay 22% on the turnover realized. The difference is that freelancers in secondary occupation pay an advance of minimum 75 euros per quarter. While a freelancer in main occupation pays at least 698 euros per quarter. In some cases, freelancers in a secondary occupation do not have to pay social security contributions. For example, freelancers in secondary employment who earn less than 1,471 euros per year do not have to pay social contributions. So even if you had no income, you do not have to pay social contributions.

As a freelancer in secondary employment, you will be taxed heavily(er) since you will most likely be in a different tax bracket. Income from additional earnings is added to your other income. In practice, it comes on top of your other income. If your income (gross salary) from your main activity exceeds 12,470 euros annually, it is 40% taxes. If you earn more than 38,080 euros on an annual basis, freelancers in a secondary occupation pay 50% taxes. If you earn less than 6,130 euros per year on an annual basis, you will not have to pay any taxes or social contributions as a freelancer in a secondary occupation. Another way to reduce these taxes is to bring in as many expenses, specific to the self-employed secondary occupation, as possible. In this way, you will have a lower income and thus pay less taxes.



Since September 1, 2018, you no longer need to demonstrate the attestation of business management to start a business. So you no longer have to present a diploma or attestation when registering as self-employed. However, this will increase and strengthen the financial plan that must be put on the table for private limited companies. In addition, it can be expected that in time it will also be necessary for other company forms and for sole proprietorships. The starting entrepreneur will still need to apply for loans, insurance, license, etc. Those applications will now also take into account the "quality" of the start-up entrepreneur. Moreover, this does not mean that knowledge of business management is no longer important: a good knowledge of business management remains crucial!

Also know that as a freelancer in a secondary occupation, you do not accrue any social rights. Regardless of whether or not you pay social security contributions. Your sideline activity does not provide you with increased sickness or disability benefits or an additional pension. These are purely solidarity contributions in favor of the social security of the self-employed. But if freelancer in secondary employment, you do enjoy these social rights from your salaried activity.

And who knows, maybe you'll soon take the step from side job to main job! We wish you every success!


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