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  1. DeGUT 2019

    For anyone interested in becoming self-employed in Germany this weekend is deGUT in Berlin. deGUT is a trade fair with various seminars and workshops on self-employment in Germany. Most of the info is in German, but there are a few seminars/workshops in English according to the schedule.   For more info see:   Disclaimer: I am NOT involved with this event and can't provide any further info than what is on the website.
  2. Freelance + fulltime job questions

    Hi everybody! First I'll describe my current situation then address the questions.   I'm brazilian and I live in Weimar - Thuringia for 2 years now. I just finished my Master's studies here (the whole course over those 2 years). 20 days ago I got a full-time contract and also just applied for the working visa (they say I might get at least another 2 years). Last week I was approached by a marketing company from Berlin asking for a freelance job. It's just a one time thing that should take less than a month of my free time for the price of ~2200 euro. My current company already allowed me to do side jobs.   Questions: 1-Even without a freelance visa and being foreigner, can I still take that job without problems? 2-How does taxes work in this case? I only pay income tax on top of those 2200 euro? 3-Should I just declare this value by the end of the year? 4-Although it's not something recurring, companies might ask me for other quick jobs in the future (let's say once every 2 or 3 months). Can this become an issue with only a normal working visa?   Thank you!
  3. Hi all! I've done a lot of searching but unfortunately haven't encountered a comparable situation.   My wife and I are expecting a baby in March 2020, and want to be eligible for Elterngeld. We live in Berlin, but we work remotely for a startup based in the UK. The company pays us each month (in euros, into our German accounts), and at the end of each calendar year we complete a German tax return. (Actually we're doing our 2018 return now with the accountant; in January we'll do the 2019 calculation from which our Elterngeld will be calculated, assuming we're eligible. The accountant by the way refuses to answer Elterngeld-related questions, saying is't not his domain).    However, I've heard that freelancers in Germany sometimes aren't eligible for Elterngeld at all. Which leads me to wonder, what's the difference (if any) between 'freelancer' and 'self-employed'? We never took a trip to a Finanzamt to register officially as self-employed. We do each have a Steueridentifikationsnummer, and we also have a Steuernummer (not sure how we got it or what it means). We also pay monthly for public health insurance.    Given the above, can anyone tell me if we'll be eligible for Elterngeld? Your assistance is much appreciated!   (Also, as a side question - while on holiday this summer we rented out our apartment on Airbnb - we have a holiday rental license and will declare this income on our 2019 return. I assumed this answer is no, but would this income be included in the Elterngeld calculation?)   Thanks!
  4. I'm American, moving to Germany (Berlin) in one week. JFK Kita is holding a spot for our 3-year-old son, but we need to get a full-time Kita Gutschein before August 1. My wife and I are both self-employed as filmmakers, working together in an LLC partnership, registered in U.S. I understand that we would need to be registered as freelancers with Steuernummern, to prove that we are self-employed and need the full-time child care. The Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung asks if applicant is working as part of a partnership, and to include the partnership agreement.   I am concerned that including our U.S. partnership information on the Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung will delay the processing, as the partnership agreement (which is in English) will require extra scrutiny by the authorities. Does this sound right? What time frame should I expect to receive the Steuernummer(n)? I need it by July.  I am also aware, via other posts on Toytown, that a U.S. LLC can trigger tax traps if it doesn't qualify as a partnership in Germany. I hope we will qualify, as we meet almost every criteria listed here:  The only qualifications we don't meet would apply to every LLC: limited liability and requirement to officially register the business.    I'm considering: - Apply for Steurnummer with LLC information included. Hope that it comes through before August for the Gutschein. (Will the LLC info really delay the process that much?)  If LLC fails German partnership test, then stop billing through the LLC and just operate as individuals. Would that work, or do we have to re-apply for Steurnummer without LLC?  I'm not clear if the Steuernummer then belongs to the partnership (like EIN in America), or to the individuals? - Apply for Steurnummer omitting LLC info, hoping that this fast tracks the processing.  Once we have the Gutschein, re-apply for Steurnummer with LLC included.  Is this possible? Advisable?  What are implications?   - Go to Jugendamt with letter from Steuerberater stating that we are indeed self-employed, our Steuernummer application is in process but is taking awhile because we have a U.S. LLC.  Also state that our family doesn't speak German, so please give us a full-time Gutschein so our son can assimilate.  What are my chances? Would a Steuerberater provide such a letter? At what cost?   I have been in contact with a Steuerberater, who said he would charge me 2-3 hours (400-600 euros plus VAT) to analyze the LLC operating agreement to see whether it qualified as a partnership in Germany. Our operating agreement is 2 pages long and basically says the partnership is the two of us, no other partners allowed, we split everything 50/50, and the LLC dissolves as soon as one of us leaves (by choice or by death/incapacitation). I outlined the three options above (including the letter), but he was very vague in his response. Kept pressing for the paid service. Can't blame him, guy has to make a living. Hence, I'm here.   Other info:   - Our clients are all in the U.S., and we have no immediate need to bill any customers in Germany.   - We are applying to KSK as soon as we can. Our track record of invoices is all through our LLC, so it would make sense that we continue to operate through it while in Germany.  I'm not clear whether our LLC needs to be officially registered in Germany before we apply to KSK.   Thanks all. I'm sure I've shown the depths of my cluelessness multiple times in this post, feel free to pile on. : )    
  5. Hi everyone, I'd be grateful for any insight or clarity   I moved to Berlin at the end of last year and have been employed with a €455 midi job since Jan 1st and freelancing (kleinkleinunternehmerin) since April.  I have health insurance with TK and my social contributions are paid through the midi job.    My questions are:  How much can I earn/work with the freelance job before I'm switched into freelance health insurance. I've contacted TK and they told me 'when freelancing is 20% more than the midi in hours and/or income'. The 'and/or' confuses me - I feel like it has to be either hours or income otherwise how can I calculate which insurance system I'm in? It makes a big difference if, at the end of the year, I owe thousands for freelance insurance or if I owe nothing because I'm still in the midi system. Does anyone have more info/experience with this?   I'm also not sure if it makes a difference that I'll have been freelancing for 9 months this year and midi-ing for 12. I guess it's calculated by total annual income (or hours?) and not an average month, but I haven't got much clarity on that.    I guess I'll earn more than the 8000 allowance this year and will pay tax. Is there a good list of tax-deductable expenses for freelancers in Germany? I've only been able to find bits and pieces.    Final question - from next year I might be expanding my freelance work. It's mostly art-based in which case I'd look at the KSK. I heard that KSK doesn't cover anyone with a midi job - does anyone have more info on that?   As always, it seems difficult to find these things out in Germany for me or my German speaking friends. But I'm so grateful that forums like this exist - thank you!      
  6. Need help with "Freelance" visa

    Hi people,   I'm writing on behalf of my wife who'd like to join me in Munich (I have a permanent job here). She's a photographer (and a very successful one) so she's going for the "freelance" visa... But, anywhere I look on the web there is simply NO official information about this type of visa (it's like it doesn't exist), and yet there are so many testimonies and instructions (which wildly differ from each other) about this type of visa and the processes involved in obtaining it.   Did anyone here obtained this type of visa recently? If so, I'd like to know about the process and all those little details that people usually forget to mention. If you need any info on our background, here's a quick rundown:   Myself: - I've been here for almost 4 months and I have a residence permit valid for 2 years (it will be extended) - I have a permanent job (with health insurance in TK) - I have an apartment that I'm renting (but it's small for both of us, it's 22 m2) - I don't have a blue card since I never graduated   My wife: - She's a non-EU citizen (so am I, we're both from Bosnia & Herzegovina) - She has a bachelor diploma recognized in Germany - She has no knowledge of a german language (neither do I, unfortunately) - She has a respectable CV and portfolio, including the international clientele (   If anyone has any useful information about this type of visa, or at least some official websites, please share them.   Thank you very much!     Best regards, Goran
  7. Hello,   I've tried the search function, but strangely haven't found an answer to something I thought would have been asked here before. I have received my tax bill for 2017, it's 1,270euro, which isn't a lot to some people, but it is to me right now, I had some unexpected dental work that had to be done that my insurance didn't cover, so all my savings went on that  - when it rains it pours or whatever.    I want to know if I can pay it in instalments? I can't find any info on this anywhere strangely. I don't want to pay and go into my overdraft as that will mess up my schufa I assume and I want to buy an apartment in the next few years.    Thank you in advance to this wonderful community.   Best Wishes
  8.   Hi everyone,   I’ve got quite a specific situation here, but please feel free to merge topics if it’s been covered before.   I’m located in Berlin, married and have the Tax category 5 (husband is 3). I also have permanent residency (he’s German) and unrestricted work activity/permit. We’re both privately insured. Currently I’m not employed but starting with a couple of projects/places soon and hence the questions, as I’d like to figure out what would be the best course of action for me.   I’m looking at doing marketing & /writing for Company A, who is willing to engage me for 20 hours a week. They are quite flexible and have said they can look into employing me OR working with me as a freelancer. As this is part time and I’m privately insured, I’m under the impression that if I were an employee, my net earnings would be complete pittance - after everything is subtracted.    Would it make more sense to register as a freelancer? (and yes, I’d have to figure out whether it’s freiberuflich or selbststandig too). Or would these earnings be about on par, whether employed or freelance?   If I register freelance, my understanding is I’d have to show projects from more than one client, which I could, as I’m also planning on contributing to a friend’s communication’s agency back in London. This is also quite a small possible income, so I need to figure out how to best proceed.    I could also just start as a part-time employee with Company A and treat any other side project as freelance work.    Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you
  9. I have a fairly basic question—not sure if someone in the forum or the Wiki has mentioned it. For filing for income taxes for this past year (2018) as a freelancer, should I also file my part-time employment income that I also received during then? Or is this automatically covered?   Also not sure how to factor this in to the income I received from my freelancing work, but wanted to double-check about this.
  10. Hey peeps,   I'm a strong believer in bullet points as a storytelling device in online forums, so here is a breakdown of my current situation:   1. I'm a Brazilian-German citizen who came to Germany one year ago. In Brazil, I was a freelance translator for a European company, and in Germany I kept doing the same as they provided me with steady work and a decent living wage. 2. Since I had never worked in Germany before, I was not eligible for public health insurance. So, with the help of the wonderful John G. from this forum (hi, John!), I signed up for the cheapest available private health insurance option at the time: HanseMerkur. 3. Cheapest available private health insurance option = 350 Euros/month. It was PAINFUL, but I made it work. Until now. 5. Said European company moved the translation operations to Brazil and gradually stopped sending me jobs. Right now, I am virtually unemployed, with no other meaningful source of income, while still having to pay for private insurance. In fact, they just took this month's premium as a direct debit from my account. Ouch. 6. Of course, I'm looking for a job, and relying on savings meanwhile. But they are running out FAST, and I'm not sure I will be able to afford my expenses next month. 7. I am... kind of desperate. I'm working a Minijob to keep things afloat, but of course it's not enough for rent + health insurance. I don't know what to do if I don't find a job within a month or so.   So... what are my options if I don't find a job soon? I can't sign up for public insurance, and it's not legal to just ditch the Krankenkasse. I'm looking into the possibility of changing my Minijob into a part-time contract because this would at least mean partial coverage of my insurance... but not even that is guaranteed. So what does a freelancer do when the tide changes and they suddenly find themselves moneyless? What if I simply cannot afford health insurance anymore? What are my options in the short-term?   This has been keeping me up at night... and the irony of it is I can't even afford to go to the doctor now for stress-related issues because of the goddamned annual deductible of 500 Euros.   Don't trust the freelance fallacy, kids. Find an unbefristeter Arbeitsvertrag.