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Association work in 2021: no longer untaxed, and (for the time being) only for the sports sector

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Traditionally, sports trainers at a local sports club, entertainers at a youth club, guides, chaperones at school excursions, etc. could earn up to some EUR 6,000.00 per year on their services without tax. These services are often called 'association work'.

This regulation came to an end at the end of the next year. Today, only the sports sector can apply association work, and moreover, both the association worker and the association have to contribute: on the association work today, a limited tax and social contributions are due.


Only for the sports sector

As of January 1, 2021, one can only perform association work for a sports association. Other associations (e.g. hospitals, schools, childcare centers, etc.) will therefore no longer be able to call on association workers today.

Specifically, this means that only the following people can still do association work:

  • The animator, leader, monitor or coordinator who provides sports initiation and/or sports activities;
  • The sports trainer, sports instructor, sports coach, youth sports coordinator, sports referee, juror,steward, groundskeeper-equipment master, signalman at sports competitions;
  • The janitor of sports infrastructure;
  • Those who provide help and support on an occasional or small-scale basis in the areas of administrative management, governance, organizing archives, or assuming logistical responsibility in sports activities;
  • Those who provide assistance on an occasional or small-scale basis in the preparation of newsletters and other publications (such as websites) in the sports industry;
  • Provider of training, lectures, and presentations in the sports industry.


In addition, it should be noted that not just anyone can additional work as a sports coach. Only those individuals who already hold another professional occupation that amounts to at least 50% of full-time employment can engage in association work.

Finally, one can do association work for up to 150 hours per quarter. For each hour worked, a minimum compensation of EUR 5.10 must be provided. The maximum annual salary is EUR 6,390 and the maximum monthly salary is EUR 1,065.


Social contributions and tax levy

The income is no longer fully exempt. There is a social solidarity contribution of 10% on the income payable by the association, and a tax levy of 10% to be borne by the association worker himself (the levy amounts to 20%, after deducting a flat rate of 50 % from the income for expenses). On a remuneration of 50 EUR, the association worker will therefore pay a tax levy of 5 EUR (20% of 25) EUR and the association will pay a solidarity contribution of 5 EUR (10% on 50 EUR).


What will the future bring?

As mentioned above, this regulation currently only applies to the sports sector. In the other sectors (think of youth clubs, school work, ...), it is therefore currently not possible to apply for association work.

It should be emphasized that this arrangement is only temporary: the federal government is currently working on a structural transformation of the law on associations, and other associations (e.g. in the socio-cultural sector) will again be able to use association work in the future. At the moment, however, it is still a matter of conjecture under which conditions and modalities this will happen.


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