Hello guys, I am dipping my toes into freelancing here in Germany after over many years of being permanent employed.
However the bureaucracy is so big that even after reading countless threads and websites I still have a few doubts.
I will tell a bit about myself in order to do not be so vague and try to receive a more acurrate answer from you
As mentioned, since I came to Germany (around 7 years ago) I have been a permanent employee and have never been unemployed, I work in the automotive sector in the creative department. I am an EU national and do not require any visa. I am married without children.
I have been considering to give freelancing a try for quite a while now due to the freedom of choosing projects and of course because of higher rates compared to permanent employement. I know it is risky specially if you run out of projects, you have to pay your own health insurance, etc.. I took all this into account and am aware of the risks, however I am confident I built a good network with clients over the years and hopefully this will help me acquire future projects.
Ps. I plan to become a Freiberufler and not a Gewerbe. I have many colleagues who do the same job as I and they are all under Freiberuflich.
The doubts I have are:
1. When I resign my permanent employment should I notify immediatly the Arbeitsamt even though I am planning to become a freelancer right away after my 3 month notice period? Is it important to do so or should I just ignore it and carry on with my freelancing carrer plan?
2. Since I contributed more than 5 years with unemployment taxes, in case things go bad in the future and I cannot get any projects can I claim enemployment benefits after I become a frelancer? In order to do so do I have deregister myself as a freelancer? How does that work?
3. My wife currently is working as a temporary employee with a 1 year contract, with the possibility to extend to another year. She has public health insurance. I leaning more towards sticking with my current public health insurance provider (which obviously is more expensive) instead of going for a private one when I become a freelancer, as I dont know if they will extend her contract or if she "accidently" gets pregnant which I think will become more expensive in the future as I will have to add 2 dependants in my coverage if I chose to go with private insurance.
Also because from what I read, once I go private it is almost impossible to return to public in case I do not like freelancing and decide to go back permanent employement. What do you guys think? Is that correct?
4. I know this question depends on what is written in the contract but I have a lawyer's insurance for work related matters but do you know if it is normal in Germany for this type of insurance to be voided in case I become a Freiberufler? Do Freiberufler normally need a special one?
5. I am currently on tax class III and my wife in V. I read in another thread that once I become a Freiberufler I will not be using the tax classification anymore. As my wife is an employee, will she jump automatically to tax class III or IV?
6. I used a couple of online tax calculator for freelancers and I noticed the taxation changes greatly if you mark the option "married". How does that work? At the end of the year can I submit a joint income statement together with my wife even though she is a regular employee? Or does she have to be a freelancer too? Is there any catch here in doing a joint assessment?
7. Is it worth for freelancers to voluntarely pay unemployment insurance? How much does it usually cost?
Thank you very much for your time and your help will be much appreciated!