Paid sportspersons have been fully liable for social security contributions since 1 January 2022. At the same time, measures for social security reductions are created especially for them.
The programme law of 27 December 2021 establishes the principles of these changes. We are still awaiting a Royal Decree explaining the details.
Obligation to pay contributions to the NSSO
Must be liable for social security contributions, paid sportsmen and women:
- whose annual income exceeds the threshold of €10,824 (amount from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022);
- whose annual income does not reach this threshold, but who are covered by an employment contract.
Up to and including 31 December 2021
These sportsmen and women who are liable for social security contributions benefit from a special arrangement until 31 December 2021:
Calculation on a flat-rate basis
Their social security contributions are calculated on a flat rate basis when their gross monthly income reaches a certain amount. This amount is € 2,474.22 (as of 1 September 2021).
If their gross monthly income does not reach this amount, their social security contributions are calculated based on their actual income.
Note: The social security contributions of soccer and basketball referees and trainers in soccer, basketball, volleyball and cycling are always calculated on their actual gross monthly income, regardless of the amount.
Limited contribution obligation
When paid sportspersons are liable for social security contributions, their social security coverage is limited. Contributions for the annual leave sector and the wage moderation contribution are not due.
What will change on 1 January 2022?
Paid sportspersons liable for social security contributions:
- their social security contributions are calculated on the basis of their actual gross monthly income, regardless of the amount. The € 2,474.22 threshold that differentiates between the two bases for calculating the social security contributions (actual or lump-sum salary) is done away with.
- benefit from full social security coverage as of 1 January 2022. Therefore, they will have to pay the contribution for the sector of annual leave and wage moderation.
The intention is to treat paid sportspersons as regular employees in terms of social security.
Social security reduction "Paid Sportsmen"
This full contribution obligation will result in additional costs for you, as the employer of these paid sportsmen. That is why the government has created a new target group reduction in social security employer contributions: the target group reduction "paid sportspersons".
Do you qualify for this reduction?
You may qualify for this reduction if:
- You come under JC 223 (National Joint Committee for the sport sector);
- You are a sports association or sports club, i.e., any organization that promotes continuing education, physical education, sports, and outdoor living;
- You are a sports centre, i.e. a whole or group of buildings and infrastructure made available for the practice of indoor and outdoor sports;
- You are a legal entity under public law whose purpose is to promote sports and physical education.
Provided that you employ paid sportspersons or professional cyclists.
Who can generate the entitlement to the reduction?
You are entitled to the reduction for the paid sportspersons or professional cyclists you employ.
- "paid sportsperson", the person who undertakes the obligation to prepare for or participate in a sport competition or fair under the authority of another person for pay in application of the law of 24 February 1978 on paid sportspersons or the law of 3 July 1978 on employment contracts
- "professional cyclist", the holder of a license of "elite cyclist under contract" issued by the Royal Belgian Cycling Federation.
What is the amount of the reduction?
You will receive a 65% reduction on the balance of the employer basic social security contributions after deduction of your structural reduction (and any Maribel Social). This percentage will be confirmed upon publication of the Royal Decree in the Belgian Official Gazette.
The reduction is granted for the entire duration of the employment.
The general rules for calculating a social security target reduction apply. This means that the employee must reach a minimum threshold of time worked of 27.5% of a full-time employee during the quarter.
Since the reduction is calculated as a percentage (65%), there is no pro rata calculation if your employee works part time.
As of 1 January 2022, paid sportspersons can receive a reduction in personal social security contributions created especially for them: the sports bonus.
He is also entitled to the reduction in personal contributions "Work bonus". Both bonuses can be combined.
However, the sports bonus cannot be combined with the reduction of personal social security contributions "Restructuring".
Who is entitled to the sports bonus?
Are eligible for the reduction "Sports Bonus" on their personal social security contributions:
- The paid sportsperson, i.e. the person who undertakes the obligation to prepare for or participate in a sport competition or fair under the authority of another person for pay in application of the law of 24 February 1978 on paid sportspersons or the law of 3 July 1978 on employment contracts;
- The professional cyclist, i.e. the holder of a license of "elite cyclist under contract" issued by the Royal Belgian Cycling Federation.
What is the amount of the sports bonus?
The sports bonus consists of:
- A flat-rate reduction
- And a percentage discount on the balance of personal contributions
Sportsperson or cyclist
Percentage discount on the balance of personal contributions
˂ aged 19 during the calendar year
≥ aged 19 during the calendar year
These amounts will be confirmed upon publication of the Royal Decree in the Belgian Official Gazette.
For full-time employees not having worked complete periods or for part-time employees, the flat-rate reduction is calculated on a pro rata basis according to the same rules as those that apply to the work bonus.
The total amount of the sports bonus is limited to the amount of personal contributions due.
As the employer of a paid sportsperson or professional cyclist as defined above, you have the option of applying to the NSSO for an amicable repayment plan.
This repayment plan may cover the portion of the contributions due for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2022 exceeding the contributions due for the corresponding quarter of the previous year.
The NSSO will not impose surcharges and default interests.
Payment must be made by 15 December 2022 at the latest.
The further details on how to apply for this repayment plan have yet to be determined.
Sources: Programme Law of 27 December 2021, Belgian Official Gazette of 31.12.2021; draft royal decree amending various provisions for paid sportspersons