Ranks of self-employed to swell


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 respectively 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 for new professionals in science-based 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 self-employed.