There is no specific legislation applicable to such a contract for services (except for the legislation on the agency contract.
The following is just a very short summary of social security in Belgium. The Ministry has published a good and more complete explanation : "Everything you have always wanted to know about social security"
The social security cost for employees is quite high in Belgium.
The employer must withhold 13.07% of the gross salary, in respect of the employee's social security contributions. On top of the gross salary, the employer also has to pay his own social security contributions calculated at about 35% of that salary.
There are quite a number of specific social security regimes for specific types of trade. E.g. sportsmen can have an annual cap on the level of their social security contributions.
Employees who are temporarily seconded to Belgium can continue to pay social security abroad.
Given the level of the social security contributions, some employees prefer to work as a self-employed or freelancer.
Employees who are temporarily seconded to Belgium can continue to pay social security contributions in the country where they have been working before if they were liable to social security (national insurance) as an employee there.
This regime is governed by Regulation(EC) 883/2004 since 2010 (the old regime can be found in Regulation (EEC) 1408/71) ; it covers employees who are nationals of one of the 27 EU Member States, as well as nationals of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. For a general overview of the European legislation, check the Europa website.
An employee can be posted to another EU Member State for a maximum of 24 months and continue to pay social security in his home country ; his employer will give him a A1 Portal Document (the new name for the ‘E101’ certificate) that shows that exempt the employer and the employee from paying social Insurance in the country where they are posted and authorises social security to be paid to the country where he was posted from.
The employee will also receive a form E106 which gives him the same entitlement to the social security benefits in Belgium, via a Belgian mutual health fund (see hereinafter). For a short secondment, an employee should apply for a European Health Insurance Card.
Belgium has concluded social security agreements with 26 countries outside the European Economic Area: Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Australia,Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brasil, Canada (there is a separate convention for Quebec), Chile, DR Congo, India, Israel, Japan, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, the Philippines, San Marino, Serbia, South Korea, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay and the United States of America. Under those agreements social security contributions can be paid in the employee's country of origin.
The tenant must insure the value of the building which he is occupying as he is liable for any damage to the building, unless he can evidence that someone else is liable. This obligation will normally be included in the lease agreement and it is advisable to show the lease agreement to an insurance broker to make sure that the insurance policy offers an appropriate cover. It is important also to insure the contents of the property.
One should always check whether the insurance company applies the so-called proportionality rule, which means that if the insurance cover taken out is only a percentage of the actual value of the assets at risk, the insurance company will not pay out the full insurance capital, but only an equal percentage thereof. It is, therefore, advisable to insure the actual value of the contents, or to sign a contract with one of the insurance companies which does not apply the proportionality rule. It is also possible to ask for an insurance cover which will not take into account any depreciation on furniture (but not on clothes, electrical appliances, etc).
A useful addition to the home contents insurance is a separate all risks insurance policy against any accidental loss or damage of valuable items, which are not necessarily kept at home. It gives a wider cover than, and usually it does not apply to any deductible in the event of a loss.
For motorcar owners, third party liability insurance is obligatory. It is actually a requirement to obtain a licence plate for the car. If one can prove that one has been driving without a claim for a number of years (a letter from the previous insurance company should be sufficient), one can negotiate a lower insurance premium.
Comprehensive (all-in insurance) is available but normally not for cars which are over five years of age. For those cars, one can usually take out a mini-comprehensive policy which provides cover for fire, theft, breakage of glass and a limited material damage insurance.
As for the insurance against theft of the car, the insurance company is quite strict about requiring a car alarm, which must be installed in accordance with certain specific requirements. Personal effects left in the car are, unless they are locked away in the boot and the car is parked in a safe place, not insured.
Injuries to the driver should be covered by a separate insurance policy, unless the comprehensive insurance policy covers this. It is also advisable to take out additional insurance to pay for the legal costs in the case of any disputes relating to an accident.
As one is liable for any damage caused to third parties by members of one's family, one's property or pets, it is always advisable to take out a so-called family insurance. This insurance is not compulsory unless you employ domestic help, a gardener, etc...
Please note that most insurance contracts can be terminated every year, upon three months' notice.
Buying property in Belgium is a two-step process.
When the buyer and the vendor agree on the price, they sign a "compromis" a couple of months later, they meet again with the notary to sign the official deed.
It is a common mistake to think that the compromis is just a temporary agreement that has no legal effect.
Between buyer and vendor, the deal could be done with a simple handshake. An oral agreement is perfectly valid, but it may be difficult to prove what you have agreed exactly. And that is why the estate agent will insist you fill out and sign a written agreement, the compromis de vente.
The compromis has a set of standard conditions. E.g. it is standard practice for the buyer to pay an advance of ten percent of the sales price. The compromis will state that he loses the advance if he gets out of the deal. And if the vendor does not sell, he has to pay back the advance with a penalty of ten percent. The vendor and the agent may not like it but you should never pay the advance to the vendor. Instead, pay it into the bank account of his notary.
Before signing, read the compromis. You may want to make some changes or additions.
As a buyer, you may want to put in a provision that you can drop the deal if the bank does not give you a loan within, say, four weeks. That is perfectly acceptable.
On the other hand, you may want to agree that you will be going to the notary within two months instead of four months. That could convince the vendor to sell to you rather than to someone else.
As a buyer, you are not obliged to sign the deed with the vendor’s notary; you can appoint your own notary. There is no extra cost; the notaries split the fee. It can never do any harm to have your own notary read the compromis before you sign it. He may want to put in a clear explanation of the position of a sitting tenant, a reference to the zoning and environmental rules and make the vendor promise that there are no problems in that respect. It is always better to anticipate hitches that could be lead to lengthy court battles.
While he prepares the deed, the notary has to check the legal status of the property. That is done in the mortgage register, who is registered there is the legal owner. In Belgium, we do not keep all the title deeds. If you can prove who owned the property in the last thirty years ownership is sufficiently proven. That is why each sales deed lists the successive owners thirty years back. The original deed stays with the notary; you just get a copy.
The notary also checks that there are no environmental or zoning restrictions. He also asks the tax man and the manager (syndic) of the apartment building whether and whether the vendor owns them any money. The notary can deduct these from the sales price. All this work explains why he needs a minimum of about six to eight weeks.
If you need a loan, the bank manager will normally come to the notary’s office to take out a mortgage on the property before you even sign the purchase deed. He will then hand over to the notary a cheque for the amount borrowed.
The notarised deed must be signed within four months because that is when the notary must register the deed with the Ministry of Finance, and pay the registration tax. It is only after that is done that he can get the sale, and the mortgage, transcribed in the mortgage register. That makes you the legal owner.
In Belgium, stamp duty or ### purchase tax is a registration tax; it is due when the deed is registered. The rate is 12.5 % (10 % in Flanders) of the purchase price. If that price is less than the market value, the tax is nevertheless due on the market value. In Brussels, registration tax is not due on the first €60,000 if you are planning to live in the property; in urban renovation zones, that exemption is €75,000.
If you buy off plan from a property developer, it is not registration tax that you pay but VAT at 21 %. You may be asked to buy the land from another company; that may save tax, because on the land you pay the registration tax and at 12.5 % or 10 % that is much less than VAT at 21%. If you buy the land from the developer, 21 % VAT is due on the total value.
The notary will remind you that you are not to pay part of the price in the black. Everyone will smile knowingly, but what he does not tell you is that the penalty is high: both parties incur a penalty equal to the evaded registration tax. The notary’s fees come on top of that ; they are calculated at degressive rates between 4.56 and 0.057 per cent The total cost is usually about 115 to 117 per cent of the purchase price.
To enter Belgium, you need valid travel documents. For most non-Belgians that is a passport and a visa.
With valid travel documents, you can stay in the country as a visitor for a maximum of three months. If you intend to stay longer, you need to register with the local authorities.
Are you a nationals of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland?
If so, you can simply register at the town hall of the commune and receive a residence permit (comparable to an identity card).
As a temporary measure, Croatian nationals must obtain a work permit until 30 June 2015.
If not, you need a work permit first
For other nationalities, a residence permit will only be delivered if you have a work permit
Once you have the authorisation to work in Belgium, you have to apply for a residence permit (verblijfsvergunning / permis de séjour) via the local Belgian embassy or consulate. The application must be filed with two passport photos, a health certificate and a certificate of good moral behaviour. The spouse and dependent children under the age of 18, can come and live in Belgium under the same residence permit. More information can be found here.
When arriving in Belgium, you have to register with the local authorities of the town. Please note that this registration triggers the presumption that you become a resident for income tax purposes.