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Primostarter: benefit from reduced social security contributions

Written by Valesca Wilms, Content Manager
Updated on
Read in 5 minutes

Have you just become self-employed as your main activity? Under certain conditions, you’re allowed to pay reduced minimum social contributions for your first four quarters of activity and even an additional reduction for the first quarter. At the same time, you continue to build up your full social protection, just like any self-employed person.

⭐️ At the end of this blog, you’ll find an interesting bonus for your new entrepreneurial adventure: with the Accountable Starter Pack, you get back the CBE registration fees in the form of a voucher. Keep reading to find out more.

What is a primostarter?

You’re considered a primostarter if you’re in one of the following situations:

  • You recently became self-employed in a primary occupation having never previously been self-employed, or having stopped your main self-employed activity more than five years ago (20 quarters).
  • You recently moved from being self-employed in a secondary occupation or being a ‘student-entrepreneur’ to being self-employed in a primary occupation.
  • You’re returning to your main self-employed activity after a period of incapacity or disability.

Social contributions for primostarters

If you are a primostarter, you’re allowed to pay reduced minimum social security contributions during the first four quarters of your main activity. This simply means that you’ll pay less in social security contributions during these quarters, while still building up your full social protection.

The condition for benefitting from this primostarter reduction? Your net annual taxable income as a self-employed person in a primary occupation must not exceed €8,707.35.

How much does a primostarter pay in social security contributions?

As a self-employed person in Belgium, you need to pay social security contributions every quarter. Your contributions correspond to approximately 20.5% of your net taxable income.

However, entrepreneurs tend to have a relatively low income in the first months or even year of their activity. The primostarter reduction can therefore be a welcome boost.

The minimum quarterly contribution for a self-employed person in a primary occupation in 2024 is €864.15.* This is calculated on an income of €16,861.46. Of course, when you’re starting out, you don’t know yet what your first year’s income will be. This minimum contribution is therefore a provisional contribution.

💡Accountable tip: Curious how social security contributions are calculated? This article explains it in detail.

As a primostarter, you can opt to pay a reduced provisional contribution during the first four quarters. You’ll then pay €446.25* in social security contributions per quarter. That’s quite a reduction, right?

*These figures represent social security contributions without admin fees. Your social counter calculates and collects your social contributions, but also includes an admin fee. The exact amount you’ll pay therefore depends on the social secretariat you’re affiliated with.

Request in advance or regularise afterwards?

When you’re starting your self-employed journey and don’t have many reserves to fall back on, the primostarter reduction can make a big difference. Do you think your annual income will remain below the maximum threshold of €8,707.35? Then you can request the primostarter reduction and have your provisional social security contributions adjusted in advance. Note that your net annual income will then be extrapolated over four quarters (see further in this article).

Are you not sure you’ll stay below this threshold? If you have enough reserves to pay the regular minimum contribution, we recommend doing that. If the final calculation of your net income for the year shows that you were entitled to the primostarter reduction, your social secretariat will automatically correct the amount due.

So, you don’t lose out on anything by not requesting the primostarter reduction in advance. However, in this case, you will only benefit from the reduction after two years if you were indeed entitled to it.

What if you request the reduction but then end up earning more than the maximum amount of €8,707.35 during your first year of activity? You’ll not only have to pay the rest of the social security contribution you owe, but you also risk an additional increase.

💡Accountable tip: Do you anticipate earning more than €8,707.35, but less than €16,861.46? In this case, your social secretariat can calculate an adjusted provisional contribution. This can already provide some financial peace of mind when starting your business.

The quarterly contribution of €864.15 is calculated on a minimum annual income of €16,861.46. Because your social security contribution represents 20.5% of your income, spread over four quarters.

€16,861.46 x 20.50% = €3,456.60

€3,456.60 / 4 quarters = €864.15 per quarter

Extrapolating your income

Are you starting your activity as a self-employed person in a primary occupation after 31 March? If so, your first four quarters will be spread over two consecutive years. In this case, your income for the first year will be extrapolated over four quarters. Your net annual income will first be multiplied by four, then divided by the number of quarters during which you were actually self-employed in a primary occupation.

If this extrapolated amount exceeds the income threshold, you will have to repay the primostarter reduction, and you could also face an additional increase in your social security contributions.

extrapolated annual income = your actual annual income x 4 quarters

number of quarters active as self-employed in a primary occupation

It’s important that this extrapolated amount remains below the threshold of €8,707.35, just like for the remaining quarters of your second year. Your social secretariat will therefore carry out the same calculation to determine whether or not you are still entitled to the primostarter reduction.

Other conditions and recent changes

Have you been ill or unable to work for a long time? Have you not paid social security contributions for more than two quarters because of ‘assimilation due to illness’? Even in this situation, you can apply for primostarter status.

Another case: professional artists. Following a recent change, professional artists can claim primostarter status, and for eight quarters instead of the usual four. However, to be eligible, you must have a ‘certificate of work in the arts’ (attestation du travail des arts (ATA)/kunstwerkattest (KWA)) via the Arts Work Commission.

Track your net income with Accountable

Have you requested the primostarter reduction, or do you hope to get back part of your social security contributions afterwards? With Accountable, you always have a good overview of your net income. And this is important, because the income threshold for primostarters is low, and you still have to adjust your annual income over four quarters.

That said, remember that your net income is not the same as your gross turnover. To know your net income, you must first deduct VAT and your professional expenses from your turnover. Fortunately, this is all done automatically with Accountable. In addition, we can also help you identify potential professional expenses.

There are other factors can influence your annual income too, such as receiving a portion of your income from copyright. As you don’t pay income tax on this – only a withholding tax of 15% – it’s not included in your net annual income. This too could allow you to stay below the threshold for the primostarter reduction.

Request your free Starter Pack

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💰 Receive a voucher worth €105.50 – the equivalent of the CBE registration fees.
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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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