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About matp

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  • Location Hamburg
  • Nationality American
  • Hometown Seattle
  • Gender Male
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  1. deregister as freelancer process?

    Perfect.  Thank you for being knowledgeable, precise and concise.  
  2. deregister as freelancer process?

    Thanks for all the advice guys.  I guess I have a project for the weekend since the UmSt-Erklarung is overdue.   One final question... My wife had both a freelancer status (consulting) and kleingewerbe (dog walking).  Both of them seem to be same steuernummer.  Both were never used for anything (0 cost/umsatz).  Both were deregistered at the same time.  Both had the fragebogens filled out and returned.   Because the steuernummer was the same I was only doing the UmSt-voranmeldung once per month (not twice).  I didn't get grumpy letters saying any UmSt-voranmeldung were I guess that was fine.  I guess that also means only a single UmSt-Erklarung needs to be filed for that steuernummer and will cover both of the ended businesses (freelancer + kleingewerbe)?
  3. deregister as freelancer process?

    I guess the Toytown "notify me of replies" setting is broken.   We received a letter telling us they were missing UmSt-Voranmeldung for January.    Even though we sent the freelancer cancellation letter in December we didn't receive confirmation until mid-January (holidays).  This confirmation included the "Fragebogen zur Beendigung der gewerblichen oder selbständigen Tätigkeit" which was filled and returned with business end date of 27.12.2018 (same as the cancellation letter we sent). I assumed that there was some carryover for some reason due to processing delay (diff between our letter and confirmation) and so did the UmSt-Voranmeldung for January figuring it was the last one.   But now that they are asking for UmSt-Voranmeldung for February...that obviously isn't the case.  This is why I figured we must have missed some part of the freelancer deregistration process and posted this question.  I agree that the finanzamt probably also expects March, April...etc.   It sounds like we didn't miss anything but the deregistration wasn't processed properly by the Finanzamt?  Message received that we may have to call the finanzamt to try to clarify this.  German is not good which is why I was hoping this was simply a matter of me missing some paperwork.   I also understand you that there is no separate Freelancer income tax filing...will be part of our joint private filing. I guess we will also need to do the annual UmSt-Erklarung (0-values) for 2018 as well right? Could it be that because we haven't filed the UmSt-Erklarung for 2018 yet this is causing the problem?
  4. deregister as freelancer process?

      Sorry for the slow reply, didn't get email notification for some reason.   It ceased on December 2018 (there never was any trade).  The deregistration letter was written as "immediate" and the followup business close questionnaire (attached to the confirmation letter) was completed and sent in.  So surprised that the Finanzamt was asking for UmSt-voranmeldung for February 2019.   Normally our SB does our joint private taxes...between SB at the moment (prev SB disappeared without filing some things they said they would file).    She was only registered as a freelancer for less than a year so it didn't come into play for 2017 tax declaration.  No annual filings for 2018 have been done yet.  I am guessing we will need to file a 0-value UmSt-Erklarung via ELSTER.  Is there also a separate 0-value Income tax filing we need to do for her as a freelancer (ie separate from our normal private annual tax declaration)?
  5. My wife sent a letter (end December) to deregister as a freelancer as she is taking up normal employment.  Got confirmation letter ("Beendigung der gewerblichen Tätigkeit") from the Finanzamt (mid January).   We filed the Umsatzsteuervoranmeldungs through her last months (Dec, Jan).  She never actually worked as a freelancer and so she never had any income/expenses (UmSt-Voranmeldung was always all zeros). Now received an ELSTER letter from Finanzamt saying Umsatzsteuervoranmeldung is missing for February.     Q1) Did we miss a step/form in her deregistration (ie why we are getting letter for UmSt for February)?   Q2) Do we have additional steps/filings to close this out?  UmSt Return/Erklarung?  Separate freelancer income tax return (or will this be just handled on our private tax returns)?   
  6. German bookkeeping and invoicing software

      debitoor I went ahead and tested debitoor myself hoping that it would be a better solution than the ones I already tested.   - The DATEV export is CSV without PDF that is problematic I think as you will need to maintain separate document management system and your Steuerberater will have to manually load all those documents in and match them to bookings.  (Duplicate work). - There doesn't appear to be even basic book-keeping functionality.  I couldn't even find a place to set whether I wanted to use SKR03 or 04.  When uploading a booking you have to "click" on categories to categorize it as opposed to having an option to assign it to an explicit account by number.  When you do the DATEV export you select SKR03 or I guess debitoor guesses the correct SKR03/04 account numbers to use when exporting from the internal debitoor booking categories.  The way this process works means that even if you have a standard set of 10 SKR04 accounts you use for your everyday can't assign bookings to these accounts. Your bookkeeper will have to check and re-assign most bookings to the correct account numbers.   debitoor really is just a basic data entry system and not a bookkeeping system as a proxy for shipping info to DATEV.   The fact that you don't even have the option to select/use SKR accounts and that the DATEV export doesn't include the PDFs makes this system uninteresting for me.   reviso Thought I would add a comment on reviso since I didn't mention them yet.  Like sage they are more of a full bookkeeping solution.  They were formerly called e-conomic.  Unfortunately there are a few things that really annoy me.    1) is that their app was built with frames and as a single page app breaking built in browser navigation.  You click 6 times to get to a specific page/tool in reviso and then you reload the page and you are back at the "start" of the app because the app doesn't keep any state about which view/page you are looking at in the URL.  If you want to share a link to a specific reviso report with a colleague, you can't copy and paste out of the address bar. 2) Their product/dev teams seem to have really over-complicated parts of the product and this is reflected in terrible usability and user experience in many places.  Customizing invoices is an example.  You have very detailed customization control but mostly through editing a huge form...and you have to repeat the process (and remember the standard values you are using) across the same form for invoices, offers, statements, credit notes, etc. 3) We never used it for full bookkeeping because it was already a nightmare just doing basic setup stuff. 4) Little improvement.  I inherited a reviso system at a previous company some years ago and hated it for the reasons above.  I tested again in January thinking that they MUST have been able to fix these obvious major problems in the last couple years...but it pretty much is exactly the same as I remember it.  This means either they really aren't aware of how bad certain parts of the user experience are...or they don't have the resources to invest in development to improve the product.  Either way...bad sign.     Once again the system of record for your books will live in DATEV outside of your control.  I really wish Sage would fix the broken bits of their system so we could use Sage for our master bookkeeping...but the Steuerberater could still easily get the data in DATEV to work with when needed (Jahresabschluss for instance).  Or maybe someday Xero will do Elster integration and the other things they need to do to get certified for use in Germany.   (warning) rant...   - DATEV seems to be the only proper bookkeeping option in Germany and they have a bit of a cartel with their Steuerberaters. - You can't buy DATEV without the permission/oversight of your steuerberater.  Which means you are forced to hire a Steuerberater even as a very small/simple business.  Your steuerberater has to be a DATEV if you use a Steuerberater that isn't a DATEV member they are forced to join or you can't use DATEV. - DATEV is primarily an offline/desktop program and only works on Windows.  This of course is bad for collaboration and as most Steuerberater's are not IT/tech-savvy people...there is also a huge security risk that is more present on Windows (partly because it is a larger target).  Ransomware anyone?  The ELSTER tools have the same problem (desktop/windows only). - Because DATEV is what the Steuerberaters in Germany are comfortable with, they don't really want to use anything else and so as an entrepreneur you are often forced into their way of doing things...which often results in just shoving paper or a google drive folder at them and settling for a PDF report once-per-month.  This is instead of being able to see realtime cash situation, cash-flow forecasting based on AP/AR/balances, automated invoice emailing, automated reminders for overdue invoices all the nice things that cloud-based bookkeeping/invoicing (that is updated daily instead of monthly) bring to an entrepreneur. - There isn't a serious cloud-based tax (let alone double-entry bookkeeping) in the German market that is accessible to startup/entrepreneur level businesses. - In many other markets (e.g. US, UK) a small business does not need to hire a Steuerberater as long as they understand basic bookkeeping.  The books, documents and even tax filings can be done without a tax attorney for small businesses.  - In Germany I have come to see that due to the lack of access to DATEV, the lack of quality competing tools and perhaps the exceedingly complex tax really cannot run a business without giving control over to a Steuerberater.  This adds significant cost and workflow complexity.  - Maybe I am partly so negative because I have also had really bad luck with Steuerberaters.  In the last couple companies, I have been given outright wrong advice multiple times.  I've even had a Steuerberater tell me he made certain filings with the finanzamt only to find out (by finanzamt letter months later) that he hadn't bothered.  I've also had steuerberaters that were in the middle of handling something disappear and stop responding to emails and texts (on very simple topics).  - Really is a bit of a nightmare being an entrepreneur in Germany unless you get really lucky with your Steuerberater and don't mind giving up so much control. To be honest DATEV/unreliable-steuerberater hell is a big instigator in us planning to relocate outside of Germany.   Sorry for complaining, perhaps I am spoiled because I have done businesses/bookeeping in other countries and see how much simpler the workflow is as well as the startup cost.  People that have only done business in Germany don't know what they are missing so it doesn't bother them.  The DATEV monopoly means that Steuerberaters can't use anything else without significant pain and so it discourages investment in new entrants and further fuels the strength of the DATEV monopoly.  In other markets where you have multiple viable options the bookkeeping/tax people are always looking for better/easier systems and because they have a choice it encourages innovation and new market entrants.    
  7. German bookkeeping and invoicing software

      A few questions as I haven't checked out debitoor yet... - does the DATEV export include the PDF attachments (ie receipts/invoices) or just the booking data - is it double-entry with a complete set of SKR03/04 account available?   Sage - Business Cloud Buchhaltung (successor to Sage One...still at same domain)   Browser/cloud based. This seems to be more a full double entry bookkeeping system.  There were a few issues though that ruled it out for me...   - DATEV export is CSV only.  No document will make it difficult to work with your steuerberater (who is probably using DATEV) if it comes to that as all the belegs will need to be stored in some separate document management system and uploaded/mapped separately in DATEV (duplicate work). - PDF upload doesn't show any preview (ie no side-by-side data entry) and doesn't include any OCR or auto fill.  So you probably need to be opening your bills inbox on a second monitor in a separate program to preview the PDFs as you upload them and do data entry.   - bank account integrations are broken lately.  Fidor, Commerzbank and N26 don't connect and are "permanently" broken according to Sage support.  This isn't the case with other systems I tested so seems to be Sage specific problem. - only two predefined invoice templates/layouts.  You can customize the text that gets injected but that's about it.  The default templates are pretty ugly in my opinion. - buggy.  Ran into lots of random errors during testing and also while trying to cancel my trial.  Chat support isn't particularly helpful and even though I contact them from the Business Cloud Buchhaltung page they tell me they need to transfer me because they don't know this little details like their chat integration being broken.  These little things add up and finding so many during a pretty superficial test means it would probably be a nightmare if I was trying to use the system for serious work.  The poor support when the product is obviously broken completely kills it as a candidate for me.   Lexoffice Browser/cloud based. This works pretty smooth and has good DATEV integration.  It is also browser/cloud based. This is really just a data-entry system and not a book keeping system. Issues: - No ability to set opening balances. - SKR03/04 account lists are incomplete and you can't add missing accounts in.  Support says you should just mark booking as "zu prufen" when accounts are missing and have your Steuerberater fix it in DATEV. - API isn't if you want to integrate for instance to auto-generate invoices based on activity in an external application it isn't possible.  Perhaps you can convince them to give you API access but they seem to be setup to just offer API access to partners creating lexoffice apps that will be available to all lexoffice users. - No ability to do a manual journal for less standard bookings.   Sevdesk Browser/cloud based. Good document management.  You can add missing accounts if you need an SKR account that wasn't included. DATEV export including documents. This is also really just a data-entry system and missing accounting features.   - It doesn't include basic accounting reportings P&L, balance sheet, etc. - No ability to do a manual journal for less standard bookings.