Self-employed in 🇧🇪 ? Here is how to fill in your tax return

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There is a deadline coming soon that you may not like that much: the tax return! Here are a couple of guidelines if, like many self-employed people, you are tackling it yourself.

We are aware that most of the Federal Office of Finances (SPF-FOD) material is available in Dutch and French only. With the support of our partner-accountant, we want to help you find your way in English too!

First things first: self-employed professionals must complete Part 2 of the tax return, in addition to Part 1. Thanks to your return, the state can find out how your business is doing and tax you fairly.

Filling in your tax return, the basics

In parts 1 and 2 (this second one, only for self-employed professionals), you declare all of your income, both Belgian and foreign. You also mention your dependencies, such as the children for whom you are responsible.

If you are married or legally cohabiting, your household fills in only one return. The box on the left is for the declaration of the youngest person (for a same-sex couple) or the male person (for a mixed-sex couple).

The first and last boxes (XIV and XXII) are the most obvious to complete: you can start by indicating your occupation, business number, and start date there.

💡Unsure about your startdate? The Crossroads Bank for Enterprises certainly has it for you!

Which self-employed person are you?

Self-employed in a one-person-company?

Go to the section XVI “Remuneration of company directors”: here you can list your remuneration, social security contributions, and insurance premiums, as well as your actual professional expenses. These last ones are available in your app, under “expenses” – of course, only if your information for 2019 is complete.

✔️Do not forget to check the code 13 and indicate, if this applies to your situation, the remuneration of company directors within the framework of an employment contract, as a complementary self-employed person or as a student-self-employed person.

Indeed, you may have your own IT consulting company and have, for instance, a complementary activity of food delivery.

See in the Dutch-speaking form:
See in the French-speaking form


Are you a liberal professional (e.g. lawyer, doctor) and work within a one-person-company? You use the section XVI, for one-person-companies, and not the section XVIII, reserved for liberal professions that are not one-person-companies.

You have worked as a rider for Deliveroo or another actor in the sharing economy?

Go to frame XV B1. You will be able to enter your profits or profits acquired in the collaborative economy.

In this frame, you can also enter any pensions or annuities received e.g. as an artist or writer.

You do not have to declare any professional costs or social security contributions.

See here the French- and Dutch-speaking forms


Are you self-employed as a natural person?

Are you a natural person, but not in a liberal profession such as a doctor, lawyer, etc? You choose section XVII.

Before you enter your professional expenses, check how much they are: if they are less than the 2020 ceiling for the lump-sum expenses (4810 euros), you are better off opting for the lump-sum expenses.

You find your amount of professional expenses in the app, under “expenses” – of course, only if your information for 2019 is complete in the app.

See here the Dutch- and French-speaking forms

Are you a natural person in a liberal profession?

You choose section XVIII, which applies to liberal professions. You indicate your revenue in the first line. By “revenue”, the tax authorities mean “fees received by the self-employed person in the context of his liberal profession (fees, commissions, etc.).

As long as your information for 2019 is complete, you may find this in your app under “income”.

In the same section XVIII, you declare your social security contributions, including your contributions to a Pension Commitment for the Self-employed (PCS).

You can also, in this context, fully deduct the social security contributions paid as professional expenses.

✔️Do not forget the code 16: if you are a complementary self-employed or a student, you declare your total income under this status.

Did you receive copyright fees (royalties)?

You declare these in part 1, section VII,(d).

Your social security contributions may be refunded

Social contributions corresponding to the profits of industrial, commercial, or agricultural enterprises (Section XVII) or to the profits of liberal professions, charges, offices, or other profitable occupations (Section XVIII) are taxable and reimbursed.

You declare them in the box corresponding to your status, added to any contributions paid under a PCS.

Make sure you declare them accurately: your social insurance fund will have sent you a tax certificate with the amounts paid, by email, and/or by post and the codes to which they correspond. If you do not find this email or letter, you can check on Accountable the amounts paid from your professional bank account or the social contributions suggested in the app if you paid that same amount;

The investment deduction

Certain investments by self-employed professionals benefit from increased deductibility. This is a way to support sustainable investments (e.g. energy savers). If you like to learn more about this, note that the Federal Office for Finances published a brochure in English.

If you have made such investments, make sure that you enter them in your tax return in the appropriate box, code 14 for Section XVIII, or code 15 for Section XVII.

If you want to find examples of investments eligible for this deduction, our Google Business Expenses could prove inspiring.

Do you have accounts abroad?

Don’t tell yourself that you don’t frequent tax havens and skip this paragraph: an account with a neo-bank such as N26 is, technically, a foreign account. If you opened an account there in 2019, you have to report it no later than when you file your tax return on your 2019 income, which is now, in 2020.  You declare its existence once to the National Bank of Belgium contact point.

You must also declare the existence of the account(s) in part 1 box 13 of your tax return.

🔺Beware of the warnings of Tax-On-Web when you fill in an online declaration: this will help you, for instance, to declare these foreign accounts in a proper manner.

What about your COVID allowances?

First thing: you will declare them in 2021, for the fiscal year 2020.
The overbruggingsrecht/droit-passerelle is a replacement income, and as such is taxable. You will receive a 281.18 form to take into account in your 2021 return.

Regional allowances should not be taxable.

Any doubt left?

You can also get support from the tax authorities by calling 02 575 56 67.  Unfortunately, they do not necessarily offer support in English.

Our team is available, in English too, and can also redirect you to our partner accountants.

If you are afraid of filling in the form incorrectly, don’t hesitate to ask for help: a mistake can be costly!

Finally, before submitting your return, take the time to reread it and ask yourself whether you have declared all your income, Belgian or foreign, correctly!

Dreaming of never spending time again on paperwork? Of a team that cares about you and answers your self-employed questions? Of an app that takes care of your accounting? You no longer need to dream: try Accountable

Sibylle Greindl, creating content and communities
Sibylle Greindl, creating content and communities

Sibylle is fond of words and stories. She used to be one of the testers of Accountable, back in the old days. She found the app pretty convincing and decided to join its team.
She now makes sure as many self-employed professionals as possible can access the experience she had, when starting on Accountable!

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