A self-employed individual or freelancer works as a private person. They must be at least 18 years of age to set up as self-employed and there is a general requirement to be able to communicate in one of the Belgian national languages and to be able to run a business. This can be fulfilled by a spouse or by an employee or assistant, if necessary. For some trades, there are minimum educational and training requirements, depending on the type of work chosen.
The self-employed person is fully liable for all debts of the business but receives all after-tax profits.
Note: If the entrepreneur is married, the non-trading spouse is liable for the debts of the business unless there is a formal marital agreement, drawn up by a notary, that separates the assets of each spouse.
People may operate on a self-employed basis alongside their main salaried professional activity (employee, civil servant, teacher, etc.) as long as this is allowed by their existing contract of employment or industry collective agreement. More information is available from the public business coordination centres (see Useful Contacts).
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