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The answer to this simple question has a major impact on the way in which you can start a complimentary activity.
As a salaried employee you have to work at least half the time of a full time salaried employee in your company or sector. If a full time job equals 40 hours per week, then you have to work at least 20 hours a week as salaried employee if you want to start a complimentary activity.
Civil servants have to work at least 200 days or 8 months a year in their regular job to qualify for a complimentary activity. Attention: don’t forget to check if you’re allowed to have a complimentary activity because, for some civil servants, that option is excluded.
In that case, still other rules apply. Teachers with a complimentary activity have to teach at least 60% of a full curriculum.
You’re in your teens or twenties and start to feel that entrepreneurial spirit? Congratulations. Just know that you have to be at least 18 to start a complimentary activity and that, in many cases, you need to have business management certificate.
The answer is quite simple: as much as you want! Just be aware that the tax people will come knocking if, in their opinion, you make a lot of profit. If you make less than 25,000 euros a year in your complimentary activity, you can ask an exemption of VAT duties. This means you don’t have to do VAT declarations, but of course you can’t claim VAT from your invoices either.
The tax people will add all of your extra income to your other income such as your regular wages, pension or benefit payments. The higher your total income, the more you’ll pay to FOD Finance. So make sure to prepay your taxes to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Not just yet! Every entrepreneur (even in complimentary activities) has to register his business first at a Business Counter. At this time there are eight companies providing that service in Belgium: Acerta, Eunomia, Partena, Formalis, Securex, UCM, Xerius and Zenito.
Suppose you work as a designer for a big advertising agency and you’d like to start a complimentary activity. As a designer, of course, because that’s the area where you excel. Well, you might want to check other options to be on the safe side. A lot of employers put non-competition clauses in their contract which means, quite logically, that you can’t compete with your own employer. Besides, developing similar activities as those of the company that hires you is not really loyal and that might continue to haunt your further career.
A complimentary activity is a safe intermediary step between a salaried job and full entrepreneurship. You keep all the advantages of a salaried employee while at the same time becoming your own boss.
Just keep in mind that workload will continue to build. If you already have a full time job, you’ll have to make do with less spare time and longer working hours to manage everything. And you’ll to divide your attention over two different activities as well with the danger of neglecting one or both.
If you’re sure you’ve got that covered and the prospect doesn’t phase you….then by all means: go!