Ranks of self-em­ployed to swell

Cir­cu­lars dic­tate that free­lancers – now in­clud­ing share­hold­ers – face higher so­cial se­cu­rity con­tri­bu­tions

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY ROULA SALOUROU

Most self-em­ployed pro­fes­sion­als will have to pay higher so­cial se­cu­rity con­tri­bu­tions from next month, as will many share­hold­ers, as changes planned by the gov­ern­ment were sealed with the is­sue of two cir­cu­lars by the La­bor Min­istry in the last few hours of 2016.

Au­thor­i­ties are set to start us­ing real tax­able in­come as the ba­sis for the cal­cu­la­tion of so­cial se­cu­rity con­tri­bu­tions, which will now be payable ev­ery month, by the end of the next month. The first such no­tices, con­cern­ing Jan­uary’s con­tri­bu­tions, will have to be served by the end of Fe­bru­ary.

So­cial se­cu­rity ex­perts have told Kathimerini that the big­gest in­crease in con­tri­bu­tions – even dur­ing the dis­count pe­riod for pay­ment – will con­cern the self- em­ployed with an­nual in­comes over 25,000 eu­ros. Self-em­ployed sci­en­tists, in­clud­ing doc­tors and engi­neers, will en­joy a dis­count pe­riod up to De­cem­ber 2020.

The sum of con­tri­bu­tions – to­ward pen­sions and health­care – comes to 26.95 per­cent of the in­come of the self-em­ployed, and if their sec­tor also dic­tates pay­ment to­ward an aux­il­iary fund and a re­tire­ment lump sum, ad­di­tional pay­ments amount­ing re­spec­tive- ly to 7 per­cent and 4 per­cent of earn­ings will be re­quired.

As re­gards lawyers, doc­tors, engi­neers, no­taries and phar­ma­cists who have been work­ing more than five years, the law pro­vides for a tran­si­tional pe­riod with dis­counts up to 50 per­cent for an­nual rev­enues up to 13,000, with the min­i­mum dis­count be­ing 5 per­cent for those declar­ing earn­ings of 57,000-58,000 eu­ros. There is also a fa­vor­able clause 1.0465 for new pro­fes­sion­als in sci­ence­based fields (i.e. those en­ter­ing the sys­tem for the first time in 2017 or with no more than five years in it), with re­duced con­tri­bu­tion rates for the first few years of work.

As of Sun­day, the min­istry will con­sider share­hold­ers and board mem­bers of com­pa­nies, as well as mem­bers of co­op­er­a­tives with a hold­ing of up to 3 per­cent as self­em­ployed.

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