Formalities and obligations

Formalities and obligations for the self-employed and shopkeepers
What do you have to do to start for yourself?
  1. Get along to a Guichet d’entreprises

    There is a one-stop shop for everyone who wants to start for themselves. At the Guichet d’entreprises (business desk) you can fulfil a whole host of administrative formalities.

    The Guichets d’Entreprises provide the following services:

    • Registration of commercial enterprises in the Banque Carrefour des Entreprises (BCE), the national register of businesses in Belgium
    • Application of the special regulations imposed on a business in particular economic sectors
    • Checks of permits you need to have before you can practise a given activity.

    The Guichets d’entreprises can also provide other services, such as giving advice and assistance, fulfilling a number of formalities like VAT and social security (ONSS) registrations and applying for any permits that may be required.

    More information on these services and the full list of Guichets d'Entreprises (FR/NL) are posted on the website of the Federal Public Service Economy, SMEs, Self-employed and Energy.

  2. Register your business with the Banque Carrefour des Entreprises (BCE)

    The Banque Carrefour des Entreprises BCE (FR/NL/DE) is a database, created and administered by the Federal Public Service Economy, SMEs, Self-employed and Energy, containing the identification details of all businesses.

  3. If you set up a corporation with legal personality (ASBL, SPRL etc)

    Deposit the articles of association with the registry of the Commercial Court and publish them in Moniteur belge. These formalities are described in more detail in the Starting your business section.

  4. Prove one's entrepreneurial abilities (basic management knowledge or professional skills in the frame of certain activities):

    Is your degree relevant to demonstrate your entrepreneurial abilities? Check out the DIPLO database(FR/NL), made available by the regions, or contact your official business one-stop shop.

    If you wish to practice a controlled activity, you must demonstrate professional skills.

    To know the regional additional permits, visit the Brussels Economy and Employment website.

    Additional permits

    • Anyone who runs a large business producing or selling foodstuffs must have a special permit.
    • Any business involved in property development and construction must be registered as a contractor with the competent provincial registration commission.
    • Pedlars, stallholders and door-to-door sellers must have an appropriate permit.
  5. Join a social security fund for the self-employed of your choice
  6. Apply for registration at the VAT control office in your place of business

    This application is obligatory for anyone who wishes to practice an economic activity, as either main or secondary occupation.

  7. Open an account at a financial institution (separate from a private account)
  8. Join a mutual

Brussels Economy and Employment

Departement Economy
Bd du Jardin Botanique 20, 1035 Bruxelles
Phone: +32 (0)2 800 35 40

The liberal professions

All non-commercial enterprises governed by private law, which means all liberal and intellectual professions, are now given a business registration number just like commercial enterprises. All liberal professionals who start working after 30 June 2009 must therefore register with the Banque Carrefour des Entreprises.

Public Service Economy, SMEs, Self-employed and Energy

Direction générale de la Politique des P.M.E.
Service des Guichets d’Entreprises
WTC III, 18th floor
Boulevard Simon Bolivar 30, 1000 Brussels
Phone: +32 (0)2 277 74 86
Fax: +32 (0)2 277 98 78 ?


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