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Social security contributions for self-employed - How are they calculated - animation

Social security for self-employed is a distinct system in Belgium.

A self-employed is a person who earns itself its main living without any contractual relationship with an employer. Statutory appointed company representatives and actively working shareholders in their own company are legally also considered as self-employed.

Unlike a worker whose employer arranges the social administration, a self-employed have to register at a Social Security Fund for self-employed (French: Caisse d'Assurances Sociales pour Indépendants) to pay his social security contributions. Social Security Funds are private organizations agreed and controlled by the government. They calculate and collect the social security contributions and keep your files up to date with the National Institute for the Social Security of the Self-employed (NISSE) (French : INASTI). Proceeding this way, you can benefit of Belgian social security (sickness insurance, pension ...). It's the pendant for self-employed of what ONSS is for employed workers. Attention, the fund has also the power to proceed against self-employed who are unwilling to pay.

Every quarter the fund will invite you to pay your social contribution. The main principle is that self-employed pay contributions on the yearly net income they have earned the same year. As you don't know now yet what you will earn tomorrow, the realization of this principle will be done in two phases.

  - Every quarter you will pay a provisional contribution, based on:
      - a legally defined minimum income for starters or a superior income they declare themselves (the first 3 complete years after start).
      - your real income of the third year before this one, for non-starters (beyond the first 3 years)
    There exists possibilities to ajust these provisional contributions.
  - Two years later, the fund gets your real income from the tax administration. At that moment it will calculate your final contribution and compare what you had to pay and what you have payed. The difference will be called in or reimbursed.

Due to tax shift measures, the contribution rate is in principle (*) :
- until 2015 : 22.00%
- in 2016 : 21.50%
- in 2017 : 21.00%
- from 2018 : 20.50%

(*) This is a general principle with exceptions and conditions.
For facts and figures, please refer
to the table on the site of Group S (pdf).
Don't hesitate to call Mrs. Liesbet
Michiels  (+32 2 555 15 63) or Mrs. Lutgart Demeulenaere (+32 2 555 15 65) for detailed information.
The Formalis counters, Points of Single Contact of Group S, can also provide great information (

If you want to better understand the way it goes, feel free to click here to see the slideshow.