Doing Freelance Business in Belgium

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Tips for starting, running and growing your freelance business in Belgium.
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Starting as a freelancer

Administrative steps for starting a business in Belgium
1. Can you start a business in Belgium?
Check if you are eligible to start a business in Belgium. Learn more here.

If you are a foreigner living in Belgium you might need to have a professional card. The formalities differ depending on whether you set up your business in the Flemish, Brussels or Walloon region. See more here.
2. Company format
Will you start as a 'natural person' or sole proprietorship (entreprise individuelle/eenmanszaak) or will you open a limited company? Read more about the company formats in Belgium here. To help you choose which is suitable for you we have a blog post about it which you can access here.

Tip: the government of Estonia allows people to start a business there without you being a resident there through their e-residency programme. Ideal for digital nomads! But be aware you will be subject to double taxation. We recommend you consult a tax adviser before considering this option.
Learn more about it here.
3. Open a bank account
When you start a business you should get a separate current account for your business activities. Read more about it later in the list.
4. Register your business
You register your business and get a company number, which also serves as a VAT and social security number at the Central Enterprise Databank (Banque-Carrefour des Entreprises or Kruispuntbank van Ondernemingen).

You can do all of this through a one-stop-shop or business counter (guichet d'entreprise/ondernemingsloket). More about them later in this list.
5. Figure out accounting and insurances
You get tips about accounting here, taxes and insurance here later in this list.
6. Get support from fellow freelancers
Get support by meeting fellow freelancers at our Freelance Business events - or by joining the Freelance Business group.

The most up-to-date administrative steps are provided in English by the portal. If you would like guidance from a real person check our list 'First point of contact' below.

You can also get more detailed information in blog about starting as self-employed.
First point of contact
The cities provide information services for anyone who is starting or developing a business. They can advice on permits (e.g construction-, food-, export-, stock trading businesses etc. need special permits to operate officially).

Here are the links to the counters in the biggest cities in Belgium:
Enterprise Counters and Social Security Funds
The Social Security Funds help you register your trade number and VAT number and take care of the social security payments. There is a fee to register a business, and some cities pay this fee back to you.

Here is a list of links to the major ones in Belgium:

Accounting and Bookkeeping for freelancers

Read this blog post by Freelance Business to learn how to find an (English speaking) accountant in Belgium.
When you start a business you should get a separate current account for your business activities. Often you get a personal business advisor who can, next to advice on the bank services you need, they can also be useful to answer basic questions about tax, pension, insurance and refer you to their partners.

3 major banks in Belgium are:
If you are self-employed living in Belgium for more than six months (183 days) of the year and are registered with your local commune, then you are classed as a Belgian resident and have to pay Belgian income tax on your worldwide income.

Your taxable income is the income left after deductions for social security contributions, professional costs and so on.

If you have registered a company you will pay company tax on the profit, and personal income tax on the salary you take out.

You can find more info about taxes via the platform, however, most info is available only in NL/FR.

Read our blog about income tax in Belgium here.
Tax benefits from your copyright
Creative Shelter is an invoicing software helping creative freelancers obtain tax reductions when earning money on copyrighted work.
Professional expenses
An accountant will be able to explain you which types of expenses you can deduct. You can find it here as well (the list is courtesy of Accountable).
Would you like to include your business here?
Email us at
31st of March deadline
Every year by the end of March you or your accountant will need to send a list via Intervat (where you do your tax returns) of all your Belgian clients you have billed for more than 250€ during the previous year.
VAT - Accountable has a good guide about VAT in English which you can find here.

Earn less than 25 000€? Then you don't need to handle VAT, unless you want to. More info about that in Accountable's guide mentioned earlier.
Freelancers choose payrolling when they would like a dedicated company to act as their employer and handle the administration and taxes against a small fee.
Read more in the Freelance Business blog here.

Some major payrolling companies in Belgium

See Freelance Business blog article: 5 Essential Insurances for Freelancers by Startupverzekering.

A tip is to get a broker for your insurances, he or she can get better deals from major insurance companies and make a package dedicated to your needs by getting the best prices from various suppliers.
Check the following insurance companies in Belgium
Government Support
Belgium is divided in 3 major areas. Each of these has its own portal full of support and information about starting a business in Belgium.
The National Institute for the Social Security of the Self-employed (NISSE) protects the self-employed entrepreneurs' social status – from the establishment of their company to their pension – in order to contribute to their social and economic well-being.

The National Institute for the Social Security of the Self-employed
Funding and subsidies

Funding and subsidies depend a lot on where you live and what you need funding for. The best to advice on this are the national information portals and the first points of contacts mentioned earlier.

Get EU funding for working abroad

The EU sponsors a programme called Erasmus for Young Entrepreneurs (young in terms of lifetime of business, not your own age).

If you started your business less than 3 years ago you can move to another country in EU for 1-6 months and get costs covered for living there (up to 1000€ per month). The aim is to work together with, learn from and exchange ideas and knowledge with an experienced entrepreneur, the host who has 3 + years of business experience. And if you have been active 3+ years as self employed you can be a host. More info here.

There is a bit of administration (it's EU sponsored after all) but it's possible and a great alternative for digital nomads.

Karen Lamb
"A year from now you will wish you would have started today"
Tips for starting your freelance business experienced freelancers...
"Review and reset your pricing all the time. Remember: when you've had a success with a client your value has increased because you have more experience."
Martketing strategist & Business Developer
"Avoid giving in on pricing just to get a customer. In my first year I did 5 times as much work to get the same payment as for one project I do today. If customers can't respect your price, you really don't want them."
Digital strategist & Content marketeer
"Do, experiment, learn, test. Only by stepping into actions, the learning will come.

Start with a minimum viable product/service - the best you can do on this moment, but taking into account that this product will keep on changing - no product is ever really 'finished' and nothing is perfect from the start.

See the entrepreneurial journey as a playground, experiment a lot, and don't forget to make fun !"
Mindfulness, mind, body & process facilitator
See more freelance tips here
Running and growing your independent business
How do you find customers, events, training and education, office space, funding and digital tools
Matchmaking platforms
Here is a list of marketplaces connecting freelancers with employers
There are international platforms too - Upwork, Odesk,, Fiverr
Startup jobs
Startups often hire freelancers to keep costs low and flexibility high. You can find some positions at or

Startup job fairs organises a monthly fair where you can meet startups looking to hire, also freelancers.
EU as a customer

For any job contracts within EU institutions, you have a few options: check the EPSO website for non-permanent posts.

Check with Randstad for interim posts. These are not public but they have an internal database of interesting profiles.

You can also work for a company that has a framework contract with the EU, e.g communication agencies. Another option is to apply for tenders, see the TED website.
The most effective and used way for most freelancers to get clients is by networking. Check out our tips for networking effectively here.

If Belgium is not enough:
Digital Nomads Around The World

1. Nextconomy - platform in NL/FR about the future of work and freelance economy

2. The Bulletin - The Bulletin is Belgium's leading English-language platform for the international community with a lot of information about self-employment.
Events and Education

1. - The Freelance Business community organises educational and networking events for starting and growing freelance businesses, including the largest annual conference Freelance Business Month.

2. Entrelancers - regular meetups with speed networking sessions where members pitch their ideas or promote their freelance services.

3. The Google Digital Atelier in Brussels offer workshops around digital marketing.

4. Toastmasters: club for practising public speaking

5. The European Freelancers Week is hosted every year in October and accumulated all the possible freelancers' events in Europe.

Check also the sites of membership organisations below and co-working spaces for their events.

Here are websites where you can find more events for your professional growth!

Co-working spaces

If you would like to have an office, a coworking space might be a viable option. There are many offices in every city. Our favourite way to find the ones closest to home or most easy to reach is by doing a search on Google Maps.
Other things to consider when picking a place:
Who else is there:
Will you have many peers/competitors there? Or will you be the only one active in your field and have a room full of potential clients?
Price, flexibility:
Do you need it full time, for a few hours or a day in the week? Is the place accessible in the evenings/weekends?
Meeting room:
Is there a meeting room - this can be handy for meeting clients. Is the meeting room included in the price? How often does it get booked?
Events, networking opportunities (lunches, online platforms, e.g Zapfloor...) , printing, coffee, gym, child care, parking…
Do you sometimes need a space in another city? E.g with Regus membership you can have meetings in multiple cities. If you travel: does this co-working space has international agreements (like Visa)
More options for coworking
enables you to rent a desk at a company with extra space
The supplier of flexible coworking rental makes it easy for you to rent a coworking spot per hour, at multiple coworking spaces, like The Office, Le Phare Du Kanaal, Les Galeries, Silversquare, Bon Jour & Transforma BXL
Skipr is a mobility SaaS solution for professionals that enables users to manage, plan, book and pay their mobility. From purchasing a train ticket, unlocking a shared bike to paying for your fuel/parking, Skipr is the centralised end-to-end mobility solution.
Leasing of 2nd hand cars
Most complete on the market (European market leader):
- almost all stations except Q8 and Colruyt
- all of Europe
- toll included
- bi-monthly automatic billing
- detailed billing
- separate billing for different countries (tax reasons)
- No yearly cost or subscription cost

The all-in-one mobility solution takes the pressure off you and offers you freedom and convenience

See other 80+ tools that freelancers use
Disclaimer: the information on this page is based on the information found on official government and local websites, and on the experience of the author. While we have done our best to make sure it is accurate, rules and regulations change and each individual situation might be different, so it is always a good idea to check with appropriate authorities for the latest information. Consequently, Freelance Business does not assume any responsibility or liability for any issues or damages stemming from the use of the information on this website.
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