Creators, artists and freelancers and social security contributions
The legal regulations on social insurance for authors, artists and freelancers are the subject of controversy and criticism. Attention is drawn to the worse legal situation of the above-mentioned professional groups in comparison with other insured persons, in particular with self-employed persons who may benefit from certain allowances in the payment of contributions. Regardless of this criticism, however, there is a way in which freelancers, authors and artists can also benefit from these benefits.
A creator is a person who creates works in the field of architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, town planning, fiction, fine arts, music, photography, audiovisual works, choreography and artistic violin making and folk art, subject to copyright.
An artist is considered to be a person who, for profit, performs artistic activity in the field of acting and stage art, theater and stage directing, dance and circus arts, as well as in the field of conducting, vocal, instrumental, costume design, stage design, as well as in the field of audiovisual production of directors, screenwriters, and cinematographers. and sound, editors and stuntmen.
Recognizing the activity as creative or artistic and setting the date of its commencement takes the form of a decision of the Committee for Retirement Supply of Artists operating at the minister competent for culture.
Freelance profession means activities performed personally by doctors, dentists, veterinarians, dental technicians, medical assistants, midwives, nurses, psychologists, physiotherapists, translators, lawyers, notaries, legal advisers, architects, construction engineers, construction experts, certified auditors, accountants, insurance agents, agents offering supplementary insurance, reinsurance brokers, insurance brokers, tax advisers, restructuring advisors, securities brokers, investment advisers, investment firm agents, patent attorneys and teachers in the provision of educational services consisting in giving lessons by the hour.
Personal pursuit of a freelance profession is considered to be the performance of activities by persons belonging to the above-mentioned professional groups - without employing persons on the basis of employment contracts, mandate contracts, specific specific contracts and other contracts of a similar nature who perform activities related to the essence of a given profession.
The basis for calculating social security contributions
Creators, artists and freelancers are compulsorily covered by retirement and disability pension insurance as well as accident insurance. Sickness insurance is voluntary.
The basis for the calculation of social security contributions for the aforementioned persons is the declared amount, not lower, however, than 60% of the forecast average monthly remuneration adopted to determine the amount of the annual limit for the calculation of contributions, announced by the minister responsible for social security in the Official Journal of the Republic of Poland "Monitor Polski" on given calendar year. The contribution in a given amount is valid from 1 January to 31 December of a given year.
In 2021, the declared amount may not be lower than PLN 3,155.40 (60% of the forecast average monthly remuneration).
Entry to CEIDG
Creators, artists and freelancers - described at the beginning - can take advantage of the following social security contributions relief if they report their activities to the Central Register and Information on Economic Activity. Without such notification, it is not possible to take advantage of the discounts.
The activity reported to CEIDG ceases to be treated in the field of social security law as a creative, artistic activity or the exercise of a freelance profession, but is treated as an economic activity, and the person conducting this activity - as an entrepreneur.
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Start-up relief - exemption from the obligation to pay contributions
An entrepreneur who is a natural person:
- undertaking business activity for the first time or undertaking it again after at least 60 months from the date of its last suspension or termination;
- and not performing it for the benefit of a former employer, for whom, prior to the commencement of business activity in the current or previous calendar year, he performed activities falling within the scope of his economic activity under an employment relationship or a cooperative employment relationship,
is not subject to compulsory social insurance for a period of 6 months from the date of commencing business activity. The entrepreneur may, however, opt out of the relief by submitting an application to social insurance.
A negative consequence of taking advantage of the aforementioned relief is that the lack of payment of contributions by the entrepreneur during the period of using it results in the lack of the right to benefits for this period.
Small ZUS - preferential contributions
The relief consists in enabling a person running a business to pay social security contributions on the basis of the assessment base, the amount of which depends on the income obtained from this activity in the previous calendar year. The contribution assessment base is determined by the insured person for a given calendar year by multiplying the average monthly income from non-agricultural business activity obtained in the previous calendar year by a factor of 0.5. The detailed algorithm is specified in Art. 18c of the Act on the Social Insurance System.
This right applies to an entrepreneur whose annual income from non-agricultural business activity obtained in the previous calendar year did not exceed the amount of PLN 120,000.
However, persons who:
- in the previous year they conducted business activity for less than 60 days, i.e. they were subject to social insurance or health insurance for conducting this activity for less than 60 days;
- in the previous year they settled in the form of a tax card and benefited from VAT exemption for sales;
- in the previous year, they were subject to social insurance or health insurance also for other non-agricultural activities;
- meet the conditions for paying preferential contributions, i.e. contributions on the declared amount not lower than 30% of the minimum wage;
- they do for a former or current employer what they did for him as employees in the current or previous calendar year.
The lack of direct coverage of authors, artists and freelancers (i.e. without the need to be entered in the CEIDG) with the possibility of taking advantage of ZUS contributions relief is often criticized. It is difficult to find a rational reason for excluding these professional groups from the aforementioned rights. Consequently, many people who, due to the nature of their activity, should have the status of an artist or artist, decide to conduct their activity as a business in order to be able to benefit from the reliefs. Therefore, there are demands to create a new system of financing social insurance for creators and artists, corresponding to the nature of their work, including irregular receipt of orders and income.