window

Choose your legal status and business type

Ready to embark on your adventure as a self-employed entrepreneur? First, you need to carefully select your status as a self-employed person, then your legal status and finally the business type (if applicable) you want to use. 

Still have to decide on the type of company (and with it, a legal status) for your new business? We'll help you sort things out. 

Start your business in just a few clicks

Our digital one-stop shop for entrepreneurs allows you to quickly and easily launch your business. 

I want to start

Which business type is the right one for you? 

There are two solutions: starting a sole proprietorship or setting up a company. Each business type has its own characteristics: we’re happy to help you find out which one fits your situation. 

Sole proprietorship  

The first option is to start a sole proprietorship. This is the most common company format for entrepreneurs. Launching a sole proprietorship is something you do as a natural person: 

  • There’s no difference between you and the business: you are the enterprise. 
  • There are few formalities and start-up costs
  • You are solely liable for any and all debt. 

If you set up a sole proprietorship as a natural person, then you can – depending on the growth of your business – still decide to set up a legal entity in the future. You can do so via our one-stop shop for entrepreneurs. 

The company 

A second option is to set up a company. There are different forms of companies you can choose from. With the exception of the partnership, all company forms have legal personality. This means that the company is seen as a separate, legal entity with its own rights and obligations. 

Some important differences between companies and sole proprietorships:  

  • Companies offer better personal protection for the founders. 
  • Companies are part of a more favourable tax regime.  
  • Companies have better opportunities for growth and development
  • Companies involve more procedures and costs

Advantages and disadvantages depending on the type of legal form: 

  Sole proprietorship  Company
Advantages
  • Faster decision-making 
  • No minimum capital required 
  • Fairly simple and cheap start-up 
  • Fairly simple accounting 
  • Limited personal liability 
  • More advantageous personal tax status 
  • ower personal financial risk
Disadvantages
  • Unlimited personal liability 
  • All business proceeds are subject to personal income tax 
  • Transferring is harder than with a company 
  • Financial risks are entirely for your own account 
  • The start-up procedure is more complex and more expensive
  • Mandatory preparation of an authentic deed with a notary for most companies 
  • More accounting and administrative duties 
  • Less flexibility due to fixed procedures in decision-making in many cases 

The different types of companies 

In May 2019, company law was reformed. One of the largest changes after this reform was the drastic reduction of the number of company forms. Now, there are five basic types.  

Below, you’ll find an overview of the basic forms and their specific characteristics

Type Deed Number of founders Start-up capital  Financial plan Establishment expenses 
SRL Notarial deed 1 will suffice Not required Yes
  • Notarial costs: about €1,000 
  • Registration CBE: €101.00 
SComm Notarial deed At least 3 Not required Yes
  • Notarial costs: about €1,000 
  • Registration CBE: €101.00 
SA Notarial deed 1 will suffice Minimum of € 61.500 Yes
  • Notarial costs: about €1,000 
  • Registration CBE: €101.00 
General Partnership Notarial deed or private agreement At least 2 Not required No

With a notarial deed: 

  • Notarial costs: about €1,000  
  • Registration CBE: €101.00 

With a private agreement: 

  • Publication in the Belgian Official Gazette: €335.41 
  • Registration CBE: €101.00 
CommV Notarial deed or private agreement At least 2 Not required No

With a notarial deed: 

  • Notarial costs: about €1,000  
  • Registration CBE: €101.00 

With a private agreement: 

  • Publication in the Belgian Official Gazette: €335.41 
  • Registration CBE: €101.00 

 

The minimum number of partners, the start-up capital (required or not), the intervention of a notary (mandatory or not) and the level of personal liability determine the company form you’ll choose. 

Would you like to start a company on your own? You’ll end up with a société anonyme (SA) or a société à responsabilité limitée (SRL). 

What about companies that were founded before the reform of 2020? 

The company law that was reformed on 1 January 2020 also applies to companies that were founded earlier. Those companies need to abide by the new company law before 1 January 2024. This means legal statuses and maybe even the business type need to be adjusted (if it was removed as part of the reform). 

If companies don’t take action to abide by the reformed company law, their statuses and business types will automatically be adjusted as of 1 January 2024. 

If you want to set up a business, it’s crucial that you make the right choices based on your situation and ambitions. Don’t hesitate to talk to your accountant about this or book an appointment with one of our experts at one of the Partena Professional offices near you. They are happy to help and ready to give you advice. 

Would you like personal advice?

Our experts are happy to provide you with advice and assistance to help you choose the right legal form for you.

 

Make an appointment

Start your business in just a few clicks

Set up your company in 5 minutes via our digital business counter. 

Start online