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Coronavirus: these are the measures the government is taking for self-employed professionals

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The coronavirus hits us and pushes us all to our limits. The self-employed professionals are particularly tried and tested: we keep you informed below of the measures that federal and regional governments have taken to help you. We also give you some ideas on how to get through lockdown as a self-employed person.

We also prepared a test: answer it, we’ll tell you what support is available to you depending on your status and region!

Support from the government

In Belgium

Your activity is completely interrupted for 7 consecutive days because of the coronavirus?

You get a replacement income, of 1.291,69 euros (or 1.614,10 in case of family dependency) for the months of March, April, May, June, July, and August 2020. It may be extended to December.

Examples include self-employed workers who have to interrupt their self-employed activity due to the absence of employees in quarantine, interrupted deliveries or a sharp drop in activity (drop in bookings, drop in the occupancy rate, increase in the number of cancellations, etc.).
All self-employed healthcare professionals who voluntarily interrupt their activity, but who of course still intervene in urgent (para-)medical cases, are also entitled to the benefit, on the condition that they completely cease their non-urgent (para-)medical activities for at least 7 days.

 

Do you work in the Horeca or in the retail sector?

You get this replacement income of 1,291.69 euros (or 1,614.10 euros if you have family care responsibilities) for the months of March and April 2020.

⚠️Whatever your activity is, you are only entitled to this replacement income if you are self-employed in your main occupation or a “helping spouse maxi-status”! If you are complementary self-employed, you receive this replacement revenue on the condition that you pay annual social security contributions equivalent to those calculated on an annual income of 13,993.77 euros.

Note that you are entitled to it even if you started less than four quarters ago.

How to benefit from this replacement income?
Contact your social insurance fund: it will normally have a form available that you can fill in to make your request. The social insurance fund will pay out the replacement income.

You’re unable to pay off your loans due to the virus?

If you’re unable to pay off your loan due to the Corona crisis, you can ask you bank for a postponement of payment until the 30th of September 2020. However, this only counts if your business was viable before the crisis. Contact your bank for more information.

You may be eligible for “Corona” parental leave

In case you had to reduce your activity in May or June to take care of a disabled child or a child under 12, you may apply for a compensation of 532,24 euros a month or 875 euros in a single-parent family. This is open only to full-time self-employed professionals.

⚠️ You are not allowed to combine this compensation with the replacement income (droit-passerelle, overbruggingsrecht).

 

In your region

In Wallonia

On 18 March, the Walloon government announced a series of measures to help the self-employed in Wallonia, in addition to the support already provided for by the federal government:

  • Self-employed persons who have to close their doors or whose activity is discontinued receive a fixed allowance of 5,000 euros.
  • Among the sectors that have been forced to close down are catering (NACE code 56), accommodation (NACE code 55), activities of travel agencies, tour operators, reservation services and related activities (NACE code 79), retail trade (NACE code 47 – excluding 47.20 and 47.73. Code 47.62 is eligible except press shops), personal services (NACE code 96).
  • Among the other sectors, the Walloon Region lists coach operators (NACE code 49390), tourist attractions (according to Article 110 d of the Walloon Tourism Code), fairgrounds (NACE code 93211), car-washes (NACE code 45206), driving schools (NACE code 85531), the events sector (NACE code 8230, 74. 109, 90.023, 77392, 77293), photographic activities (NACE 74.201 and 74.209), taxis (NACE 49.320) and repair of footwear and leather goods (NACE code 95.230).
    Sports centers, arts and entertainment activities could also be added to this list.
  • A compensation of 2,500 euros is also provided for the self-employed who have had to interrupt their activities and have benefited from the replacement income (droit-passerelle/overbruggingsrecht).
  • The Walloon financial tools (SOWALFIN, SOGEPA, and SRIW) come to the rescue of companies by granting guarantees, co-guarantees (with banks), or loans. Emergency loans to support cash flow up to €200,000 can be granted.

You can apply for the Walloon Region support here, on this platform. Payments will take place in April.

In Brussels

On March 19 the Brussels Region also detailed the measures it was taking to help the self-employed in Brussels.

  • Do you have to close down? You receive a one-off compensation of 4,000 euros. The sectors concerned are catering, accommodation, travel agencies, reservation services, retail trade with the exception of: food shops, pet food shops, pharmacies, press shops, service stations, recreational and sports activities.
  • Compensation is 4.000 euros per place of business in the Brussels region, with a maximum of 20.000 euros in total per enterprise.
  • You have to apply online – by June 1st 2020 at the latest – to Brussels Economy and Employment (EEB), using this form, only available in French or Dutch. Prior to applying, you should check, on that same page, whether you are eligible by introducing your NACE code.
  • You are legally allowed to continue your activities but you are suffering from the corona crisis? You could receive a one-off compensation of 2,000 euros. A 110 million envelope has been earmarked for this purpose, and the conditions of access should be defined quickly.
  • The suspension of payment of the City Tax by the Brussels Region for the first half of 2020;
  • A 20 million euro fund offers a regional warranty to companies and self-employed persons, in order to facilitate their credit applications to banks. In addition, the Region has announced a moratorium on the repayment of loans granted by finance&invest.brussels.

In Flanders

  • All entrepreneurs facing a complete shut-down receive a one-off compensation of 4,000 euros. If, after 21 days, their activity remains interrupted, they receive compensation of 160 euros per day.
  • On 1 April, the Flemish government announced a one-off compensation of €3000 for the self-employed who do not have to close but suffer at least 60% loss of turnover. The loss of turnover must be demonstrated on a declaration of honor in comparison with the turnover of the previous year, for starters compared to the financial plan.
  • Self-employed persons in a secondary occupation can also receive this compensation, on the condition that they pay social security contributions equal to those of a self-employed person in their main occupation. If not, they can receive a premium of €1500 if they lose more than 80% of their turnover.

In order to apply for this compensation, go to Vlaio’s website here.

Your obligations for VAT, taxes and social security contributions have changed

VAT

  • The payment of the VAT balance for the first quarter is automatically postponed to 20 June.
  • The submission of the VAT return for Q1 is postponed until 7 May, for Q2 until August 10.
  • VAT payment deadline is still July 20.

Client’s listing and intra-EU listing

  • The deadline for submitting clients’ listing moved to April 30.
  • The deadline for the intra-EU listing is moved to May 7.

Taxes

  • It is now less disadvantageous to postpone advance payments on taxes to the third and fourth quarters of 2020: the government has decided to increase the percentages of the advantages of advance payments to 2, 25% and 1,75% for 10 October and 20 December. Note that these increased percentages do not apply to natural persons who could receive more bonuses as a result of the advance payments. For companies, the advantage of advance payments move from 6% to 6,75% for the 3rd quarter and from 4,5% to 5,25% for the 4th quarter.
  • The payment of the withholding tax for the first quarter of 2020 is postponed to 15 June 2020.
  • The Federal Office of Finance also announces that “an additional period of two months will automatically be granted, in addition to the normal period, for the payment of personal income tax, corporation tax, corporate income tax and non-resident tax. This measure applies to the tax statement for the tax year 2019, established as of 12 March 2020. »

These measures apply automatically and can be combined with measures previously announced by the Federal Office of finances: a payment plan, exemption from interest on arrears or the remission of fines for non-payment, for VAT, tax or withholding tax debts. You will find the necessary information to apply for these measures here.

Social security contributions

  • A self-employed person affected by the consequences of Covid-19 may request to defer his social security contributions for the first and second quarters of 2020 for one year. He must submit this request to his social insurance fund before June 15, 2020, specifying his surname, first name and domicile, name and registered office of his business, company number. In this case, he shall pay his social security contributions for the first quarter of 2020 before 31 March 2021 and for the second quarter of 2020 before 30 June 2021.
  • A self-employed person who does not pay his social security contributions for the first quarter of 2020 on time will not receive a fine. This is automatic, he does not have to apply for it.
  • You can also apply for a reduction in your provisional social security contributions for the year 2020, if you cannot pay your provisional contributions due to the impact of the coronavirus. You can also apply for an exemption.
  • Finally, note that you can apply for an amicable payment plan for employer’s contributions, (ONSS) due to the impact of the coronavirus, via this form.
  • Sectors of activity subject to compulsory shut-down benefit from a deferral of the payments due to ONSS – RSZ from 20 March, to 15 December.
  • Sectors of activity that close because they cannot comply with health regulations may also obtain a deferral of payments due from March 20 on, after submitting a declaration on their honor. This form should be available on the ONSS – RSZ website from Monday 23 March.The declaration dates remain in force.

Your social insurance funds can inform you more precisely about these procedures, as can the Inasti/RSVZ on 0800 12 018. We will do our utmost to inform you as soon as possible.

Please note that our app will reflect these changes so that you can always count on it to submit your returns on time!

How to keep your admin under control during lock-down?

SPOILER: this is your chance to vary your to-do list a little if you are forcedly idle… It’s also an opportunity to protect your income and optimize your taxes in tough times!

  • Check if you still have open invoices with some customers: are these overdue by 10 to 15 days? Send a reminder!
  • Do you no longer have professional expenses to deduct? Not so sure… Look at our Google for professional expenses, you will find all the expenses related to working from home, training (online!) and other expenses that are necessary in these times of lock-down.
  • Close this quarter fast and clean: we generate automatically your VAT return for you. Online. From home.

PS: we decided as a team to expand our free version. From now on, and during the entire lockdown period, there is no limit to the number of documents you enter in the app, even if you have chosen the free version.

There are more than a million freelancers in Belgium. You make the economic heart of the country beat. We are at your side, whatever happens.

Isabel Senden, Customer Success & Growth Strategist
Isabel Senden, Customer Success & Growth Strategist

With a background in linguistics, literature and communication, it's needless to say that Isabel has a passion for language. While working at Accountable she is able to use her love for language while at the same time creating a new passion for marketing and customer care.

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