Big fat disclaimer: this article is provided for translation purposes only and does NOT constitute official tax advice. This article is based on the most recent available form, version 2017FsEEU011NET found at https://www.formulare-bfinv.de/. Please note that the form is subject to change slightly over time.
The big change for 2020 is an update to the Kleinunternehmer-Reglung exempting small business owners from having to do VAT. From 2020 the small business owner threshhold is 22,000€ (up from 17,500€ in 2019) so anyone earning under than can request to be VAT exempt.
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To start invoicing and collecting money in Germany, you’ll need to get a freelance Steuernummer or tax number (not the same thing as the tax ID you received after registering your address) — and that means filling out the Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung. It looks pretty intimidating at first glance, but for most freelancers a lot of the lines can stay blank.
Here’s a line-by-line translation to help you along, assuming you have a straightforward freelance occupation such as artist.
(Note: some common jobs such as tour guide, cleaner, bicycle delivery person, etc. may not be classified as freelancing in Germany at all — but actually be a Gewerbe or trade, requiring you to get a Gewerbeschein or trade license.)
This article was originally published on an external blog. Please continue reading on Tia Hardy Robinson’s Medium blog.
You can also watch a step-by-step walk through of this form by Tia Robinson of Expath and Megan Thudium of Freelancing Womxn.