Freelancing in Belgium - legal requirements?
Thread poster: xxxdizzysatch

Local time: 06:25
French to English
Nov 3, 2004

A former professor asked me if I was interested in doing a little freelance translation. I am currently based in Belgium, and don't know of the legal requirements for occasional freelancers.

I'm currently jobhunting and do NOT want to be a full-time freelance translator, so I'd like to know what Belgian law specifically requires for this kind of situation (i.e., a few pages from time to time.) Do I need to register for VAT or for a particular status, or both?

Any relevant information or links to relevant websites will be much appreciated.


Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:25
Flemish to English
+ ...
Just like Belgium: Taxes are a natural as breathing Nov 3, 2004

Belgium tax-wise:

-If you earn less than 6198 euro p.a., you do not need a VAT-number. If you earn more, you do need a VAT-number.
-If you have VAT-number, calculate the past quarter, divide the amount of VAT/3 and add that to the VAT you pay for that quarter.
In other words, you have to pay 1/3 of VAT in advance.
Nice situation if on the other side of the balance, invoices are paid after 45-60 days or even more. (old habits die hard).
-All costs for your business will be free of VAT i.e. you pay VAT first and then you get it back. Getting money back from the Belgian state can take a while. Don't make any mistakes in filling out your declaration. The local VAT-authorities like to give fines.
-Because you are self-employed you pollute more, so expect a small extra pollution tax for that. You also occupy office-space and of course you have to pay taxes for that. If you make written publicity, the commune can charge for that publicity.
-Expect to pay social-security contributions of about €500-600 per trimester. You are not insured against small risks, such as dental costs. However, you are insured against mayor risks such as hospital treatment.
-After three years of activity expect the tax-man at your door to see if you paid enough and if you did everything by the book.
-Also you pay lump-sum social security contributions. If you did not pay enough in the past three years, the state will send you an invoice to pay up the remainder.
Although the (tax-free) EU-institutions are in Belgium, with regard to taxes and social security contributions Belgium is not the E.U. It levies the second highest taxes in the world.
Somebody has to pay for those motorways full of light.
Now, I know that you want to become an employee: out of every 100 euro, expect to keep about 48 for yourself. Average wages are about 1250-1800 euros net.
The rest goes to direct taxes and social security contributions.
Just like Belgium...

[Edited at 2004-11-03 14:49]


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