You have taken the first step by achieving your entrepreneurial dream and becoming self-employed as a secondary occupation. You have now decided that the time has come to devote 110% of your time to your business and resolutely choose self-employment as your main occupation. What does this mean for you? What do you need to consider? Below are some things that will change when you are your own boss.
Social protection through social security contributions
You are a self-employed contractor on an additional basis if, in addition to your self-employed activity, you also work for at least half the time as an employee or civil servant. If you give up this job to devote more time to your self-employed activity, your affiliation to the social insurance fund will change from 'secondary' to 'main'.
In exchange for your social security contributions, you will receive social rights, such as health care reimbursement, disability benefits and a pension.
|Tip: this change of status often raises a number of questions (will my business generate enough income? Will I be able to pay myself a salary?) and can also have consequences in terms of social rights (health insurance, pension, etc.). It is therefore important to analyse the feasibility of your project, ensure its viability and write a business plan. Of course, you can also consult your accountant or tax expert.|
How will your social security contributions change?
A self-employed person who is just starting out pays provisional flat-rate contributions since their income is not yet known. Have you been self-employed for at least three full calendar years? Despite switching from a secondary occupation to a main occupation, your provisional contributions will continue to be calculated on the income you received three years earlier.
Your provisional contributions will ultimately be adjusted based on your current year's income. Do you expect your self-employed income to increase significantly now that you are fully dedicated to your self-employed business? In this case, you may decide to pay a higher provisional contribution now to avoid having to pay a large amount when the contributions are adjusted. The contributions you pay in a given year are also tax-deductible as business expenses.
|Tip: Several social secretariats offer online simulators so that you can calculate your own social security contributions.|
Inform your social insurance fund
Let your social insurance fund know that you have switched to self-employment as your main occupation and have therefore stopped working as an employee (or have reduced it to less than half-time). You may want to ask your accountant to do this for you.
|Tip: Always notify your social insurance fund within 15 days to avoid having to pay contributions for several quarters at once.|
If you do not inform your social insurance fund, it will not be able to amend your file until much later, which will often require you to pay a considerable supplement later on and may compromise your social rights.
Social security contributions as a self-employed person always cover one quarter even if you only start your occupation in the middle of a quarter. The change from a secondary occupation to a main occupation always takes effect immediately.
Example: the third quarter runs from 1 July to 30 September inclusive. You stop working as an employee on 31 August (= third quarter). In this case, your social insurance fund will adjust your membership as a self-employed person from the third quarter. You therefore pay social security contributions as a self-employed person from the beginning of the quarter (1 July), even if you only "really" started your main self-employed occupation in September.
Please note that a change in your primary self-employed status may result in an increase in your quarterly supplemental self-employed contributions in the same calendar year. Your total annual income is used as the basis for calculating your contributions. So if your annual income increases, all your quarterly contributions will follow.
Example: in the first quarter, you are a member on a secondary basis and have no self-employed income. From April onwards, you switch to a main occupation and earn 2,000 euros per month. The total annual income of 18,000 euros is used as the basis for calculating the contributions for each quarter. As a result, you will also have to pay an increased contribution in the first quarter - even if you were working in a secondary capacity at that time.