Carrying out work in Belgium, arrange everything in advance

Are you going to carry out an assignment with your business or as an independent contractor in Brussels or Wallonia? Then the local enterprise office will ask for your diplomas. In Flanders, they do not do this. In Brussels, for example, they check whether you are suitable for your profession as a hairdresser. In Flemish Hasselt, this does not matter. In Belgium, organisations in different regions have different requirements. That makes performing work in Belgium complicated.

Dutch entrepreneurs are allowed to work in Belgium as independent contractors. But they will have to arrange certain administrative matters, such as social security and taxes in advance. With the overview below, you will know what rules our southern neighbours set. Rules everything before you leave for Belgium.

Working in Belgium

In Wallonia and Brussels, you are required to prove that you possess basic business management skills if you want to work as an independent contractor. For some types of jobs and professions, you may also need to meet additional professional competence requirements in Wallonia and Brussels. You do not need to prove that you have basic business management skills to work in Flanders. Nor will have you to meet additional professional competence requirements.

There are specific rules for certain (liberal) professions that apply throughout Belgium. These say that you need to have certain degrees or accreditations to practice certain professions. The European Commission has published a list of regulated activities and professions. Often, Dutch entrepreneurs will not meet the degree requirements. In that case they can arrange an exemption with an EU Declaration.

EU declaration

You apply for an EU declaration at KVK. Conditions apply. Your experience in the Netherlands and the diploma for your profession count toward these conditions. Do you have any questions about this? Then call the KVK Advice team: 088 585 22 22.

What to arrange in Belgium?

On the Belgian site of the European Services Directive (in Dutch) you will find an overview of all applicable procedures and requirements. You can apply for a licence or permit by contacting one of the approved business advice centres in the region in which you will be working.

There are more administrative obligations and things you need to arrange. For your social insurance and taxes, for example.

Register with Limosa

Are you going to be self-employed or are your employees going to work in Belgium temporarily? Then report this in advance to Limosa. This system provides insight into the presence of self-employed people, foreign workers and trainees in Belgium. Your notification is mandatory and makes your administrative tasks in Belgium easier. There are exemptions to the mandatory Limosa notification. These depend on the reason for your visit and how long you will be in Belgium. Check in advance with Limosa.

A1 certificate of coverage

If you work temporarily in Belgium, you can remain socially insured in the Netherlands. You can prove this with an A1/certificate of coverage. You will then not pay social insurance contributions in Belgium. You can apply for this certificate from the Social Insurance Bank, Bureau for Belgian Affairs (BBZ). This organisation will also help you with questions about social insurance.

PDOK registration

Are you going to lend construction workers to Belgium? Then register these workers with the fund (in Dutch, pdf) of the Patronal Service for Organisation and Control of the subsistence schemes (PDOK). This is a kind of holiday fund. Do you apply the Dutch collective labour agreement(CAO) for the construction industry? Then you do not need to apply.

ConstruBadge

Workers in the Belgian construction industry must carry a badge. This contains personal data, such as a passport photo with the name of the employee and employer. This badge is called a ConstruBadge. It is compulsory for employees of Belgian and foreign businesses.

Declaration of works

If you enter into a contract with a Belgian business in the construction or meat sector, you are required to register on the online Checkinatwork platform. This also applies to subcontractors. Failure to register on Checkinatwork is punishable by a fine (in Dutch).

Tax rules

If you provide services to Belgian consumers, you may have to pay VAT. For business customers, you may be allowed to reverse charge the VAT. To find out where you have to pay tax, use the Overseas services (in Dutch) tool created by the Dutch Tax Administration.

Apply for a VAT number

Do you need a Belgian VAT number? Before you start, apply for it at the tax office (in Dutch) in the region where you will be working.

Income tax

Does your employee work from a Belgian establishment for more than 183 days in a 12-month period? In the tax rules, this is called a permanent establishment (vaste inrichting). Then you have to pay Belgian import tax. You should calculate this from the first day. This is provided for in the 183-day rule. Storage displays or temporary outlets such as a market stall do not count as a permanent establishment.

Working conditions for your employees

Before your staff start the job, check the Belgian employment rules. For example, for minimum wage, health and paid holidays. There are also rules for safety and hygiene at work and the workplace.

Figuring out these rules is often complicated. Especially if you are hiring Belgian employees. Get help from a specialist. Try the Union of Social Secretariats (USS, in Dutch), for example. 

More information is provided by the Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue (in Dutch).

Fine

The Belgian Social Intelligence and Investigation Service (SIOD) checks whether Dutch entrepreneurs meet all requirements. Stick to the rules. That way you avoid fines and delays.  

SIOD has an overview (in Dutch) per sector of the costs of an inspection by an inspector.

Business Advice Centre

For information on working in Belgium, contact the Business Advice Centre. The employees of the Business Advice Centres will help you make the necessary arrangements to meet all your administrative obligations and answer any questions. They will also test your business management skills and will arrange a VAT number for you and register you with the Crossroads bank for Enterprises, and your VAT number. The Crossroads Bank for Enterprises (CBE) is a database of the FPS Economy. It contains all the data of businesses and their branches.