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How to start as a self-employed individual in a secondary occupation

Written by Valesca Wilms, Content Manager
Updated on
Read in 3 minutes

Are you considering becoming a self-employed individual in Belgium? Starting a side business is an excellent way to cautiously test the waters of self-employment. But how do you get started as a self-employed individual in a secondary occupation? What about taxes, VAT, social contributions, insurance, and your pension? And what are the pros and cons of a side occupation? This article provides answers to all your questions.

Becoming self-employed in a secondary occupation: the pros and cons

Starting a side business comes with its advantages and disadvantages. For instance, you can pursue your passion and earn some extra money, but you may also face significant taxes on your side business. Additionally, your side occupation might bring more administrative duties, but on the other hand, you might be eligible for exemptions from VAT and social security contributions.

Is it a good idea to start as a self-employed individual in a secondary occupation? It’s primarily for you to decide. As a tool to help, we’ve listed all the pros and cons for you here.

What are the conditions to start a side occupation?

Is a side occupation the right choice for you? To start as a secondary self-employed person, you must meet one of the following conditions:

  • You must be employed on at least a part-time basis;
  • or be registered as a job seeker with the National Employment Office (RVA) and have permission to carry out an additional activity;
  • or receive an unemployment benefit from the health insurance fund (this compensation is based on an activity in salaried employment before you became unable to work) and have a doctor’s permission to carry out a self-employed activity in a secondary occupation.

Financial boost for starters

There are intriguing schemes for those planning to become self-employed on a part-time basis. Consider whether the Brussels start-up bonus is right for you, or if you’re unemployed, the possibility of using the ‘springboard’ to self-employment.

How much tax do you pay as a part-time self-employed?

As someone pursuing a side occupation, you dream of earning extra money by pursuing your passion, not handing it all over to the taxman. Yet, the reality is that your side income could easily bump you into a higher tax bracket, potentially increasing your tax bill.

You can try to reduce this additional tax burden by making smart expenses or considering opting for a flat rate for professional expenses. Check if you qualify for a VAT exemption.

💡Accountable tip: Use this simulator to estimate what you could keep after taxes as a part-time self-employed individual.

What about social contributions?

Like full-time self-employed individuals, part-time entrepreneurs also contribute to social security. However, you don’t gain additional social rights by paying these contributions, as you already acquire them through your main job.

If your taxable income from the side job is less than € 1,865.45 (in 2024), you’re exempt from social contributions. Above this treshold you’ll pay a minimum of € 98,52.

Read here why social contributions are necessary and what to watch out for.

Can you deduct professional expenses as a part-time self-employed?

By deducting professional expenses, you can lower your taxable income, resulting in paying less taxes.

Read more about deducting professional expenses as a self-employed in a secondary occupation.

Which professional insurances do I need as a part-time self-employed?

Did you know that you can deduct the insurance for your self-employed activity as a business expense? Additional insurance can save you a lot of headaches and is even mandatory in some cases.

Find out which insurances are a good idea for complementary self-employed.

How can I save for my pension in my side job?

As a part-time self-employed, you pay social contributions, but these don’t contribute to an additional pension. Fortunately, there are several tax-efficient ways to save for a rainy day.

Starting as a part-time self-employed?

Are you ready to dive into the world of self-employment? Great! You can become self-employed as of today by following the steps in this article.

Once your registration is complete, know that Accountable is here to turn an exciting leap into a walk in the park. Our app simplifies your accounting, provides an overview of your costs and expenses, and makes filing your tax and (if applicable) VAT returns a breeze.

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Valesca Wilms, Content Manager
Valesca Wilms, Content Manager

As a Content Manager at Accountable, Valesca offers her readers an exciting and engaging content experience. Given her own experience as a freelance content marketeer & copywriter, Valesca knows the ins and outs of tax returns for the self-employed. It’s her goal to provide you with easy and understandable solutions to handle your tax returns stress-free with Accountable.

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