Start a business: legal requirements

Steps to becoming self-employed (as a main activity or complimentary activity)

  1. Open a business bank account

  2. Register your business through a Business Counter (a guichet d'entreprises / ondernemingsloket i.e official business one-stop shop dealing with most of the formalities for setting up a business).There are offices throughout Belgium. You can find the nearest office here on the FPS portal.

    At this stage, you will also generally be required to provide proof that you have the basic management skills and, potentially, specific professional qualifications in the context of the exercise of a regulated profession. In principle, a bachelor's degree is sufficient, but the business counter will confirm this with you.

  3. Apply for a VAT-number : to obtain this, you must submit an application at your local VAT office for the region  in which the business is established. The addresses of local VAT offices can be found in the phone directory under SPF Finances, secteur Taxation TVA or on the fiscus.fgov.be  website. If you would like, you can also ask the business counter to activate your business registration number as a VAT number on your behalf (for a fee).

  4. Register with a social security fund for self employed workers of your choice within 90 days of starting your business activity. This provides rights to family allowances, pension, and health insurance.

  5. Register with a mutual fund (i.e mutuelle/ziekenkas) or declare your change of status to be able to receive healthcare services (as an individual)
  6. Subscribe to the necessary insurances.

Steps for creating a limited liability company

  1. Open a bank account in the company's name.  The amount of capital released must be deposited in cash.  The notary must be provided with the banking certificate proving this deposit;
    The name of the financial institution where the account has been opened and the account number must appear on all commercial documents (letters, invoices, order forms, etc).

  2. Constitution of the company with the notary (authentic deed or notarised deed)

    1. Establishment of the articles of association (statuts/statuten)

    2. Filing of a financial plan for 2 years full

    3. Registration of an extract from the articles of association with the commercial court in the legal district in which your registered office is located

    4. Registration of the company at the Crossroads Bank of Enterprises (Banque Carrefour des Entreprises/Kruispuntbank voor Ondernemingen).You can do all of this through a business counter.There are offices throughout Belgium. You can find the nearest office here on the FPS portal.

    5. Receipt of your company number. All documents, such as invoices, relating to a commercial business must show the company number.

  3. Declaration of activities and establishment with an accredited business counter.

  4. Registering for VAT : When applying for your business number, you can apply for your VAT number at the same time. Your business number will then be activated as your VAT number.
    To obtain a VAT number, you must submit an application at your local VAT office for the region  in which the business is established. The addresses of local VAT offices can be found in the phone directory under SPF Finances, secteur Taxation TVA or on the fiscus.fgov.be  website (available in French, Dutch and German). If you want, you can also ask the business counter to perform this formality on your behalf, for a fee;

  5. Registration with a social security fund for self-employed workers. Self-employed workers and company directors (manager, administrator, active shareholder, etc.) must be affiliated with a social insurance fund as soon as they start their business ! In exchange for your social security contributions, you obtain certain social rights: the right to child benefit, service vouchers for maternity assistance, health and disability insurance, bankruptcy insurance, an allowance in the event of palliative care and a statutory pension.

  6. Companies also have to be affiliated with a social security fund and pay an annual company contribution (as a natural person)

  7. Affiliation with a mutual fund (i.e mutuelle/ziekenkas) or declare your change of status to be able to receive healthcare services (as a natural person)

  8. Subscription to the necessary insurances.

Depending on the nature of your activity, its location, the fact your are employing personnel yor not, the nature of the products you deliver, etc., other formalities may be required. 

Updated 28/07/2017

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