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08.05.2024

Imminent change in the fight against social fraud: register of working shareholders and helpers

As of 1 July 2024, companies will be required to electronically share information about their working shareholders or helpers with the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises (CBE). This will be done by means of a ‘register of working shareholders and helpers’. Until recently there was still some uncertainty about the specifics, but on 26 April 2024 the Council of Ministers has approved three draft royal decrees.

THE FIGHT AGAINST SOCIAL FRAUD CONTINUES

The register will act as a monitoring instrument to counter abuse of the statute of the self-employed. By doing so, the lawmakers specifically want to tackle the practice of abusing the statute of working shareholder or helper for the purpose of performing work. The obligation to enter in this register applies in particular to companies and self-employed persons working in the immovable property sector, such as the construction and cleaning sectors.

THE THREE DRAFT ROYAL DECREES IN BRIEF

The first draft RD allows the aforementioned companies to enter and modify data on their working shareholders and helpers themselves via a simple app called ‘My Enterprise’. This app is free and always available.

The register contains the identification details of working shareholders and helpers (the name, first name, national register number or bis number), as well as the start and end dates of the activity. This information must also be updated in the event of a change or termination.

The second draft makes the National Institute for the Social Security of the Self-employed responsible for collecting and updating the data. The third draft is designed to make the NISSE a member of the CBE Strategic Committee, responsible for, among others, the quality of CBE data and its operation.

WORKING SHAREHOLDER VERSUS HELPER: WHO DOES WHAT?

A working shareholder owns at least one share in a company subject to Belgian corporate income tax or non-resident tax. This person contributes to the operational tasks, decision-making and growth of the company and is not a salaried employee within the company in question.

A helper supports a self-employed person within their sole proprietorship and in this context is also not linked by an employment contract. This person is often, but not necessarily, a relative of the self-employed person.

WHAT NOW?

It is possible that the NISSE will carry out checks on this new compulsory registration. If a company does not (correctly) comply with this obligation, it runs the risk of a fine. Any director or manager of a company can be held jointly and severally liable for this. The Council of State is currently considering the draft royal decree for further advice. Van Havermaet’s paralegal team is closely following the developments and will be happy to keep you informed on the further developments.

© Van Havermaet International 2024

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