Setting up as a freelancer in Malta

The life of a freelancer seems to be synonymous with freedom, flexibility and the empowerment that comes with being your own boss. That is of course all true, but as we already know (thanks to the Spiderman franchise), ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. Being your own boss is fantastic, but only if all your paperwork is in order before you start bringing in those euros. The last thing you want to deal with when you are getting your operation off the ground is some sort of hefty fine or awkward conversation with the Tax Man. Not to worry – today, we’ll take a look at some key points to keep in mind when you’re setting up as a freelancer in Malta.

First things first

Before you do anything, you need to register with Jobs Plus (formerly ETC) as self-employed – full or part time depending on the intensity of the work you plan to take on. Registering is straightforward – just head over to their forms page and print the one entitled ‘Self-employment engagement form’ according to your preferred language. When you’re done with that, send it to the address included in the form.

Pay your dues

When you’re employed by a company, your National Insurance (NI) and tax is sorted out for you. If you’re registered as full-time self-employed, you’ll need to take care of your own NI and tax. Tax is due each year, and you’ll need to fill out a tax return form with information including your profits or losses, along with any income you may have earned.

Did you know? If you work as part-time self-employed, you can benefit from a preferential tax rate of 15% on the first €12,000 of profit earned.

Don’t forget about VAT

VAT stands for Value Added Tax and applies to specific products and services, so when you’re setting up your business make sure you check whether or not you’re exempt from that. If you are selling something within the scope of VAT, then make sure you’re charging for VAT. Getting a VAT book is a must if you’re offering good and/or services to non-VAT registered individuals – whereas you only need to issue an invoice if your clients are registered individuals.

Top Tip: If you make less than €30,000 a year in sales through your freelance work, you qualify as VAT exempt and are registered as such.

Keep those receipts/invoices

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen – remember to keep all of your receipts and invoices. Why? Well, the money you spend on business lunches, driving around from client to client, and buying the equipment you need to work can all be expensed. If you’re eligible, you might be able to claim a tax credit through Malta’s Micro Invest scheme. Want to know more about that? Just get in touch with one of our advisors!

Good to know: Gozitans and businesses with female majority ownership benefit from higher thresholds in the Micro Invest scheme!

Be prepared

Just because you’re your own boss now doesn’t mean you should work without a business plan or check your progress as you go along. Create a plan complete with goals and targets for yourself – always, of course, making sure they’re realistic to help you stay motivated.

Signed, sealed, delivered

This bit might sound tedious, but it’s probably one of the most crucial parts of setting up a business. If you want to make sure you’ll get paid, it’s important to draft a little something called a ‘work contract’. For smaller jobs, it might feel a little superfluous, but when you’re working on a €500 contract and you’re still waiting to be paid three months after completion, you’ll be glad you protected yourself in writing.

Follow your finances

This one applies to your day-to-day life, but you should be even more organised when it comes to your freelance work. Keep track of your invoices and stay on top of how much money is coming in and going out, and you’ll be fine. A proper invoicing system like Xero will make this super straightforward, so set that up ASAP.

If you’re looking for guidance regarding all things freelance, just give us a call! Our team of experts have all the information you need to help you get your business off the ground. Get in touch today!

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