Belgian government has introduced several measures to help self-employed people to tackle with the challenges arising from recent energy crisis. Here we gathered brief information regarding mentioned measures.
Reduction of social security contributions
If you are strongly impacted by the energy crisis, you can apply for a reduction in provisional social security contributions for the four quarters of 2022.
Since 2022, the reduction is no longer limited to certain thresholds, with the exception of the legal minimum thresholds which apply for the main self-employed, for starters and for assisting spouses, so that you can adapt your provisional social contributions for 2022 according to the economic reality.
We draw your attention to the fact that if your final income shows that the reduction in the provisional amounts has been wrongly granted, you will have to pay the additional social contributions, increased by legal quarterly increases of 3% and a single legal increase by 7%.
You can request a payment deferral for the provisional social contribution for the fourth quarter of 2022.
This measure concerns all categories of self-employed (main, complementary, pensioner, assisting spouse, etc.).
It is important to underline that this measure does not apply to contributions that you have already paid.
Your social rights are safeguarded provided that the social security contributions are paid within the extended period. Otherwise, our organization will be required to claim increases from you and any social benefits granted will have to be recovered.
Please pay attention to the fact that a deferral of contributions for the fourth quarter of 2022 hinders the tax deductibility of PLCI premiums for the year 2022. Indeed, PLCI premiums are only tax deductible if the social security contributions are actually and fully paid.
If you are also unable to pay your provisional contribution for the fourth quarter of 2022, you can request, via a simple request (email or ordinary mail), to be reimbursed in instalments through a plan of clearance.
However, we draw your attention to the fact that the agreement of a settlement plan does not prevent the application of the calculation of increases and interest on unpaid contributions at the end of each quarter. A statement of these increases and interest will be sent to you at the end of the plan.
As soon as your clearance plan is completed, you can submit a request for a rebate of the increases to our organization. We will forward your request to INASTI, which will approve whether the clearance plan has been scrupulously respected.
Exemption for your provisional social security contributions
Due to the impact of the energy crisis on your professional activity, it is also possible to submit a simplified request for exemption from social contributions for the provisional contribution for the fourth quarter of 2022 by e-mail - preferably - or by ordinary postal mail.
In this case, you must necessarily indicate in your request the following elements:
the impact on independent activity of the energy crisis;
the sharp increase in the energy provision bill for 2022 compared to that of 2021.
A request for exemption from contributions is also possible, even when a deferral was initially requested.
If you also wish to request an exemption for other trimesters, you must submit a request according to the normal procedure. This is also the case if you have, in the meantime, ceased to work as a self-employed person.
Attention, the quarters exempted will not be taken into account for the constitution of pension rights but they can be regularized within 5 years for the maintenance of pension rights.
The one-quarter contribution exemption in 2022 also prevents the tax deductibility of PLCI premiums for the year 2022.
Are you forced to interrupt or completely cease your self-employed activity for at least 7 consecutive calendar days due to circumstances beyond your control?
In this case, you are eligible for the third pillar of the classic bridging right (forced interruption/termination due to force majeure) in connection with “a decision by a third party economic actor or an event having economic impacts”.
Indeed, the increase in prices in the energy sector leading to a significant increase in the cost of energy in the total cost of production can be considered as such an "event whose economic impacts directly and significantly affect the activity of your business”.
If you decide to interrupt or cease your self-employed activity insofar as the exercise of this activity is less profitable due to the increase in energy prices, you are considered to be obliged to interrupt your self-employed activity in due to circumstances beyond their control.
Please be aware of the fact that it's not just the increased gas and electricity bills you have to pay, but also the increased fuel prices (petrol, diesel, kerosene, etc.) as well as the increased commodity prices (due to rising energy prices).
To be able to apply for the gateway right, you must be subject as:
Self-employed or main assistant;
Mainly self-employed person benefiting from the application of Article 37 liable, on the basis of your reference income in N-3, for provisional contributions at least equivalent to the minimum contributions of a main self-employed person;
Spouse assisting maxi-status.
If you are self-employed on a supplementary basis or an active pensioner, you cannot apply for the bridging right.
For further information and demand of mentioned aids, please contact your professional organism (such as Partena etc.).