Freelance professions - what are they?

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A free profession is sometimes associated with self-employment, it is associated with great freedom, but also independence. Is there a directory of freelance professions? Is there a consistent definition that makes it clear what this activity should be equated with? And finally, do freelance professions have to pay social security contributions?

Liberal professions - statutory definition

There is no strict definition when it comes to liberal professions. In the Act on the social insurance system in Art. 8 you can find information about the artist, we read there that an artist is a person who makes an artistic activity for profit in the field of acting and stage art, theater and stage directing, dance and circus art, as well as in the field of conducting, singing, instrumentalism, costume design, stage design, as well as in the field of audiovisual production of directors, screenwriters, cinematographers, editors and stuntmen. On the other hand, in the Act on flat-rate income tax on certain revenues earned by natural persons, the definition of a liberal profession is more extensive. We can find there information that a liberal profession is a non-agricultural business activity carried out personally by:

  • doctors;

  • dentists;

  • veterinarians;

  • dental technicians;

  • medical assistants;

  • midwives;

  • nurses;

  • translators and teachers.

Importantly, the personal exercise of a freelance profession is the performance of an activity without employment on the basis of employment contracts, mandate contracts, specific-task contracts and other contracts of a similar nature of persons who perform activities related to the essence of a given profession.

List of freelance professions

As already mentioned, there is no single, strictly defined definition of liberal professions. The Commercial Companies Code Act indicates their catalog. There you can find the following list of professions considered to be freelance professions:

  • advocate;

  • apothecary;

  • architect;

  • Civil Engineer;

  • the auditor;

  • insurance broker;

  • tax advisor;

  • stock broker;

  • investment advisor;

  • accountant;

  • doctor;

  • dentist;

  • veterinarian;

  • notary;

  • nurse;

  • midwife;

  • Legal Counsel;

  • Patent Attorney;

  • real estate appraiser;

  • Sworn Translator.

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Freelance - do you have to pay ZUS?

A freelancer is in no way bound by any employment relationship. Generally, freelancers are self-employed. What does it mean? Namely, that these people pay ZUS contributions just like any other entrepreneur. It should be remembered that every entrepreneur has the right to a two-year preference and ordinary ZUS. It is worth mentioning that freelancers cannot use the so-called small ZUS, i.e. established on the basis of income, however, under the appropriate conditions, they can use the so-called start-up allowances, as the regulations do not exclude this group from using it.

Freelance profession - does it always exclude ZUS from income?

Pursuant to Art. 18c paragraph. 11 point of the Act on the social insurance system, the right to apply the lowest calculation basis for old-age and disability pension insurance contributions is not granted to persons who have performed an activity in the field of a freelance profession. ZUS, however, took an interesting position on the entrepreneur who decided to take advantage of the new "small ZUS". He met all the conditions stipulated by the Act, and the only doubts concerned the fact that he is a freelance translator, which excludes him from exercising this right. However, ZUS issued a decision, WPI / 200000/43/15/2019, and concluded that the provider of translation services based on an entry in the CEIDG conducts non-agricultural business activity and has the possibility to determine the basis for the calculation of social contributions on income, i.e. to use the so-called small ZUS. In the meantime, the Social Insurance Institution has issued similar decisions in the case of professions such as attorney-at-law, architect and tutor.

A liberal profession does not have a strict definition, but as a rule it is a non-agricultural business activity performed personally. Practicing a freelance profession involves a lot of responsibility, because this work should be carried out independently, which again involves a lot of freedom, but also the need to carry out orders at a high level. Self-employment is, above all, a constant confrontation with competition and although it is associated with a lot of stress and rising costs, it is estimated that the number of freelancers will grow. It is mainly favored by the market situation.