Social security contributions for the self-employed

Social security contributions explained

Why and how entrepreneurs pay social security contributions

As a self-employed you contribute to social security, just as employees do. Only the way you do differs: you contribute directly and as an employee, you do so via the employer.
Social security contributions provide you, as an entrepreneur, with social protection in times of illness or when you retire. How does it work and how are they calculated? An overview.
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Social security contributions explained
Social security contributions in a nutshell:
  • Social security contributions serve to build up your social rights (such as pensions and sickness benefits).
  • Every self-employed person pays a social security contribution every quarter.
  • The contributions are calculated based on your income.
  • You pay social security contributions via mandatory affiliation with a social insurance fund, such as Securex.

What are social contributions for?

In Belgium, everyone who works contributes to social security. Therefore, as a self-employed person, you pay social security contributions, just like an employee. In return, you receive social rights, such as sickness and disability insurance, a statutory pension, bridging rights and the growth package (formerly child benefit). Self-employed persons pay their social security contributions every three months to their social insurance funds, which in turn transfers the amount to the government.

Calculating social contributions

Your social security contributions as a self-employed person are calculated based on your income. The tax authorities look at your income of the current financial year. As long as your final professional income is unknown, your social insurance fund will calculate provisional contributions. To do that, your indexed professional income from three years ago will be taken into account. Other factors also play a role in calculating your personal social security contributions:

  • Your status. Pensioners or assisting spouses are covered by a separate scheme.
  • Your status as a self-employed person as your main or secondary occupation. Self-employed persons as a secondary occupation pay fewer social security contributions.

Would you like more information about the calculation and payment of your social security contributions? Read more about it here.

Social contributions for starters

If you are just starting your own business, your income is still uncertain and an adapted regime applies to the payment of your social security contributions. In that case, you pay a statutory minimum contribution, which is regarded as a provisional social security contribution. For this calculation, your social insurance fund assumes a fixed (lump sum) annual income of € 13,993.78.

After two years, the tax administration notifies your professional income to the social insurance fund. At that time, your final social security contributions can be calculated. Have you overpaid? If so, the difference will, of course, be refunded to you. Is your income higher than the calculation base? Then you pay the additional amount. 

You can also have the amount of your provisional social security contributions adjusted to your expected income. That way, you avoid unpleasant surprises in the form of a high settlement later on.

Social contributions are deductible

The tax authorities regard the social security contributions you pay personally as being a professional expense. This means they are fully tax-deductible. Your social security contributions are calculated on your net taxable annual income. This is the gross annual income as a self-employed person minus professional expenses but before taxes. 

Main points:
  • Your social security contributions are calculated on your net taxable annual income. 
  • Social security contributions are fully tax-deductible as professional expenses. 
  • As a self-employed person, you pay your social security contributions every quarter. 
Rely on the Securex Social Insurance Fund Join as a self-employed person
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