The status of students

As a result of recent legislative amendments, the status of students has changed in a number of areas. A new status has been created for self-employed students, while for those students employed under an employment contract the work they do is no longer recorded on a daily basis, but rather on an hourly one. Below we have set out a number of the most significant changes and provided a brief summary of the present state of affairs so that you can be well-informed when preparing for the upcoming student-jobs season.

1. The self-employed student

Enterprising students who combine their studies with independent money-making and that comply with certain conditions can, as of 1 January 2017, make use of the new self-employed student status.

The new status

Up until 31 December 2016 students who were self-employed could make use of the fact that their work was considered equivalent to a sideline activity (‘article 37’), which meant their social security contributions were discounted. But since the introduction of the new self-employed student status on 1 January 2017, these students are no longer placed on an equal footing with a sideline activity. 

What exactly has changed?

The social security contributions payable by the self-employed student is dependent on the net taxable income they receive. There are three categories:

  • The self-employed student is not required to pay social security contributions if his or her income is less than half of the minimum threshold for a self-employed person’s principal activity (less than €6,648.12 in 2017).
  • If their 2017 income is between €6,648.12 and €13,296.25 then the self-employed student pays social security contributions amounting to 21% of that part of the income in excess of €6,648.12.
  • The self-employed student who earns more than €13,296.25 in 2017 will pay the same social security contributions that every self-employed person practicing a principal activity is paying.

What are the conditions?

  • If a self-employed student wishes to use this new status he or she must submit an application to the social insurance fund. In other words, the new status is not automatically implemented!Students who do not submit an application will receive a request over the course of March or April to pay social security contributions as a self-employed person practicing a principal activity. The new status replaces the existing contribution regulation known under article 37 for students. This means that self-employed students have no other available options.
  • In principle, all students between the ages of 18 and 25 are eligible. They can start off as self-employed students from the quarter of the year in which they turn 18 and until the third quarter of the year in which they turn 25.
  • Self-employed students must be registered with a Belgian or foreign educational institute for at least 27 credits or 17 lectures a week. The diploma they are aiming for must be accredited by the competent authorities, and applicants must furnish proof of enrolment to their social insurance fund.
  • The students must also submit a declaration to their social insurance funds confirming that they regularly attend class. If they do not do so, they could lose their status as self-employed students.
  • The students must perform an independent activity that does not involve a relationship of authority with an employer - or in any event, the intention to do so must exist.

How and when does the status end?

Every self-employed student keeps the special status until the end of the third quarter of the year in which he or she turns 25. It is in the fourth quarter of that year that the status is changed to a self-employed person practicing a principal activity. Even if the student graduates before he or she turns 25, the change will still only occur in the fourth quarter.

Please note: if the student drops out, his or her status will change in the quarter in which he or she quits studying.

Are social entitlements accrued?

If the self-employed student’s annual income is less than €13,296.25, then he or she does not start building up health insurance entitlements but instead remains a dependant of his or her parents for medical care. Reduced contributions can, under specific conditions, trigger the waiting time for occupational disability insurance. With an annual income of €13,296.25 or more, the self-employed student accrues the same social entitlements as a self-employed person practicing a principal activity.

2. The Student-employee

A student who is employed under an employment contract for employing students will benefit from an advantageous status: the ‘student-employee’.

What has changed?


The student quota is no longer registered by days but by hours, while the Dimona declaration (Déclaration Immédiate/Onmiddellijke Aangifte – an electronic form used to register every employee starting or leaving his or her job) has also been amended.

A student who is employed under a contract for student work may work for remuneration for a given period, deviating from the standard social security contributions. Instead of these contributions, the employer and the student-employee must only pay what is known as a solidarity contribution, which is considerably less than the ordinary social security contribution.

This solidarity contribution amounts to 2.17% of the gross wages for the employee and 5.42% of the gross wages for the employer.

Until 1 January 2017 the student had a student quota of 50 days.

Since 1 January 2017 the existing quota of 50 days has been converted into one of 475 hours, during which the student may perform student work at a more advantageous social security rate. Because the days have been scrapped, if a student does not work a full day it will not have to be deducted in its entirety from the quota.

As soon as these 475 hours are exceeded, both the student and his or her employer at the time of that threshold being crossed lose their social benefit and the standard social security contributions are payable as of the 476th hour.

The balance of the student quota can be checked using the ‘student@work’ tool made available by the National Social Security Office (Rijksdienst voor Sociale Zekerheid - RSZ).

What are the conditions?

In order to make use of this preferential regime, the employer wishing to employ a student must henceforth state the number of hours the student works under the preferential regime in the Dimona declaration, instead of the number of days.

The following information must also be provided:

  • a declaration of the capacity of student;
  • the address of the location where the employment contract is performed, if that address differs from the employer’s registered office as listed in the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises;
  • the end date of the employment contract;
  • for each quarter, the number of hours (not days) during which the student works for the employer under the preferential regime for social security contributions.

3. Child benefits and the tax status

Certain limits must be observed for both the status of self-employed student and that of student-employee if the student does not want to lose his or her right to child benefits and they wish to remain a dependant of their parents.

What about child benefits?

In principle a student is entitled to child benefits as long as he or she is studying, up until the age of 25.

If a student works, they may work no more than 240 hours a quarter during quarters 1, 2 and 3. If that threshold is exceeded, then the student loses the right to child benefits.

In quarter 3 (the summer months) there are no restrictions to the number of hours the student works in respect of losing his or her right to child benefits.

Tax status

For a student to be a dependant of his or her parents in respect of taxes, the following conditions must be met:

  • He or she must be part of the family;
    The self-employed student must be legally resident in his or her parents’ house on 1 January 2017 for the 2017 tax year. Even a student who is temporarily not staying at home (such as in a digs or as an Erasmus exchange student) is in the eyes of the law still part of the family.
  • The student may not receive remuneration categorised as the parents’ professional expenses;As soon as the student’s remuneration is deducted as a professional expense from the parents’ income, the student is no longer a dependant of his or her parents. 
  • The self-employed students net taxable annual income may not exceed the following sums:
    - €3,200 if his or her parents are taxed jointly.
    - €4,620 if his or her parents are taxed separately and the student is not deemed to be handicapped from a tax perspective.
    - €5,860 if his or her parents are taxed separately and the student is deemed to be handicapped from a tax perspective.

For the 2017 income year an initial income bracket of €2,660 from a student job is exempted from the assessment of whether the student worker remains a dependent of his parents. With respect to the remainder, the actual or fixed (20%) expenses may be deducted.

An example

A student has an occasional gig as a model and earns €6,600 a year. Her parents are married and are consequently taxed jointly. Of the student’s income, €2,660 is exempted, and of the remaining €3,940 20% may be deducted as fixed expenses*. What is left is €3,152 in net taxable income. This means that student falls just below the threshold of €3,200 and she remains a dependant of her parents.

* Given that the actual costs are mostly less, in principle this remains the most advantageous option.

Is there a notification requirement for your organisation?
Well begun is half done: Prepare your organisation for the go-live of the UBO register.
The register of ultimate beneficiaries (the "UBO register") will go live on 31 October 2018. In one of our previous newsletters we presented an overview of the general framework of the UBO register. The Royal Decree of 30 July 2018, published in the Belgian Official Journal of 14 September 2018, explains this register in detail. We’ve reviewed what your organisation needs to take into account.&n
One of the action points of the ATAD Directive
Impact of the implementation of the Belgian CFC legislation: the de facto tightening of transfer pricing rules?
From 1 January 2019 (fiscal year 2020), the newly introduced CFC rule will come into effect in Belgium, due to the implementation of the ATAD directive1. This new legislation must be interpreted within the broader framework of the Summer Agreement and the reforms within Belgian corporate taxation, which, like the CFC legislation, have resulted in part from the heavily discussed implementation of t
Brexit, e-commerce & VAT action plan are discussed
Pending changes in the area of international VAT
In the previous edition we discussed the expected changes in terms of VAT at a national level. In this article we will briefly consider the VAT changes that are expected internationally.                Brexit  In principle, on 30 March 2019, the ‘Brexit’ will finally be a reality. The United Kingdom will no lon
Limited number of legal entity types
Help, soon my legal entity type will no longer exist!
The WVV ("CAC") is on its way On 4 June 2018, the "draft legislation introducing the Companies and Associations Code" was filed in the Chamber, marking one of the most far-reaching corporate law reforms since the introduction of the coordinated laws on commercial companies on 30 November 1935. This extensive reform of corporate law corresponds with the introduction of the “Companies and Asso
A brief summary
What should be expected in relation to (national) VAT?
Despite the fact that many of us are still in summer (holiday) mode, this article is going to focus on the VAT changes that we could expect in the not-too-distant future. It will provide a brief summary. For a more in-depth examination, you can always contact our VAT team.  Vouchers (1 January 2019)  In June 2016, Europe set out the VAT process for vouchers (Directive (EU)2016/1065 o
The FAQ contains no fewer than thirty-one questions
FAQ published regarding the Innovation Income Deduction (IID)
On 26 July 2018, the FPS Finance used Fisconet - you can registrate for free to consult the list of FAQ - to publish the long-awaited list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) regarding the Innovation Income Deduction. Since the law of 9 February 2017, introducing the Innovation Income Deduction, there now follows the first additional comments concerning the legal provisions of Art. 20
Depends on the nature and frequency of the violation
Fine levels set for non-compliance with transfer pricing documentation obligation
From tax year 2017 and, more specifically, the implementation of the mandatory transfer pricing documentation obligation, there was an immediate indication that, from a second violation of non-compliance with the transfer pricing obligations, a fine of between 1,250 EUR and 25,000 EUR (Article 445, §3 Income Tax Code 1992) could be imposed. The scales of the administrative fines and their appl
What are the consequences?
Vlabel overruled by the Council of State in the case of split acquisition and registration of bare ownership and usufruct
After years of dispute between taxpayers and the Flemish Tax Office (Vlabel), the Council of State has quashed Vlabel's position on split acquisition and split registration. Here below we explain where the problem lies and what the consequences of the decision of the Council of State are in practice. The problematic situations Two kinds of situations were targeted by the position of Vlabel. Th
Property planning finds itself in turbulent waters
Valuation of a usufruct: in complete (r)evolution?
Much has been said and written in the past few years about the valuation of a usufruct and where the fiscal shoe pinches. An overview of valuation problems, current trends and a look at future property planning is provided below. Valuation of a usufruct Valuation of a usufruct: a changing world Usufruct is one of the oldest property rights known and was already applied in Roman times. Usufr
This difference in treatment needs to be corrected
Benefit in kind on immovable property: tax authority abides by the court ruling (for now)
The Federal Public Service Finance published Circular 2018/C/57 on 15 May 2018 on the flat-rate valuation of the benefit in kind for providing an immovable property or a part of an immovable property free of charge to employees or managers. The flat-rate estimate of these benefits is laid down by the Royal Decree implementing the Income Tax Code 1992 (RD/BITC 92). The Courts of Appeal of Ghent and

Subscribe to our newsletter