You are an independent contractor when you carry out paid work as a self-employed person. If you place an order or contract and pay a fee, you are the commissioning client.
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You both record the agreements that have been made in the contract, as well as referring to general terms if relevant. Oral agreements are valid but difficult to prove. Acceptance of a tender is also an assignment contract.
- Who are the parties to the assignment?
Is your client a legal personality or a natural person? Is the contact person and/or signatory to the assignment empowered to represent the client? You can check this in the register of the Chamber of Commerce. As for the creditworthiness of your client, do you know how big a risk there is of delayed payment or no payment at all?
- Content: what is it about?
Which services or products are envisaged? What must the result be? Only then can you jointly determine when the assignment has been completed. Tip: ask a third party what he or she thinks the content of the commission is.
- Fee and payment
What is your fee, is it inclusive or exclusive of VAT, and what about expenses such as any material and/or travel expenses? When will which sum be paid? The advantage of payment in instalments is that you can suspend your work if you do not get paid.
If you can see the assignment as a process, make sure that the times of commencement, completion, stages and deadlines are clear.
- Dispute settlement
Bear in mind a provision with the intention of the parties to resolve all disputes in consultation with one another, or with the assistance of, for example, a professional conflict manager. In this way you can maintain contact during a conflict and prevent the conflict from taking precedence over the contact.
When is a commission contract actually an employment contract?
If you work with (short) employment contracts or are paid by payroll, then you are juridically and fiscally an employee, not an entrepreneur.
Even if the word ‘commission’ appears in the contract, it may still legally be an employment contract. Some clients exploit the contract to cut expenses because they do not have to pay any income tax and employee’s social insurance contributions in the case of a commission contract.
If (as of May 2016) you use model contracts approved by the Tax Office, the client knows the assignment is not considered regular employment and will not be held responsible for any payroll taxes and contributions with regard to your working for them. These model agreements are drawn up to regulate the aspects of income tax and social insurance contributions. If you use a model agreement, make sure that all of the points in the checklist are included; if not, you will need a supplementary agreement.
Differences between a contractor and employee
- is paid a gross sum and is responsible for payment of tax himself
- determines himself how he performs his work
- retains the copyright himself unless otherwise agreed
- is not entitled to employee insurance benefits such as unemployment benefit, disablement benefit or sickness benefit
- is not entitled to holiday or holiday allowance and does not automatically build up a pension
- is personally responsible for any harm or damage caused to the client
- cannot usually claim liability of the client in the event of harm or damage incurred through accidents at work, for example.