Two steuernummers for married freelancer?

6 posts in this topic

Hi Toytowners! I've been a long time lurker and first of all I wanted to thank you for being such a huge source of information and advice for settling in Germany!


I've been reading posts about taxes for days and can't find this specific issue.


My husband and I applied for our steuernummers as freelancers a few weeks ago. I'm a translator/copywriter, he’s a photographer, earning under 17k € a year each, so no VAT for now. This week we got a letter from the Finanzamt addressed to both of us with one steuernummer. Confused by that, I turned to TT and found out that here in Germany it's common to have one steuernummer as a married couple, and accepted the fact that his number is also my number. But, two days later a second letter with another steuernummer arrived, this time addresses to just me, it says:


Sie gilt für folgende Steuerarten:

Gewinnermittlung nach § 4 Abs. 3 EStG (this is also on the first letter addressed to both of us, along with Einkommensteuer)

Bezeichnung des Betriebs: Dolmetschen


I first though, OK this is just my number then and the whole joint number thing maybe isn't so anymore. But the problem is, Dolmetschen means interpreting (based on what the Internet tells me, my German is very limited, just started taking classes), and I'm a Überzetzerin (translator). These are similar but, in practice, different activities. Basically, an interpreter translates orally, while a translator interprets written text. My concern is, what if the Finanzamt maybe misinterpreted what I stated as my activity in the form (I think I wrote: Übersetzung und Texterstellung), or if they just put all “language conversion” activities under the Dolmetschen umbrella, although they list them as separate things over here. Or is there maybe a special taxation on interpreting activities?


My current clients aren’t even in Germany and probably don’t care much about this number, but I wouldn’t want to start issuing invoices with it and come tax time find out I should have clarified this with the Finanzamt or something.


We’re planning on getting a Steuerberater along the line, but we were hoping to put it off unlit it’s time to file taxes since the initial registering for a number didn’t seem so complicated (though fresh recommendations for English-speaking tax advisors in Berlin are welcome). If anyone could tell me wether I should look further into this matter or if I should just to stop obsessing about not angering the Finanzamt, and just start using my brand new steuernummer in my invoices, that’d be great!


Thanks! :)


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Yes, somebody at the Finanzamt doesn't know the difference between interpreting and translating, but then again, lots of people don't ;)

As far as the Finanzamt is concerned, interpreting and translating are in the same basic category, freelance (= freiberuflich), i.e. brain work that does not underlie the Gewerbesteuer.


So it really doesn't matter what kind of freelance work you do, they will only want to know when you take up gewerbliche (= non-freelance) activities because then they will charge you an extra tax, the Gewerbesteuer, if the profit from said non-freelance activities exceeds 24,500€.


You will have to submit a joint tax return with your husband until 31. May 2014 for the calendar year 2013, in which the tax number that was addressed to both of you is filled in on:


  • Mantelbogen ESt 1A (this is the general form with your name, bank connection and other general details), only one Mantelbogen per married couple
  • any common tax forms you may have, e.g. Anlage KAP if you had foreign interest/dividend income
  • his Anlage S: his freelance profit
  • his simple profit/loss calculation
  • his Umsatzsteuererklärung: as a Kleinunternehmer he just fills in a few fields on the first page, basically telling them that he is a Kleinunternehmer


while you use your own tax number on the forms:


  • your Anlage S: your freelance profit
  • your simple profit/loss calculation
  • your Umsatzsteuererklärung: as a Kleinunternehmer you just fill in a few fields on the first page, basically telling them that you are a Kleinunternehmer


So just go ahead and use your tax number on your invoices, there is no problem.


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Thank you so much PandaMunich! (and thanks for all the useful information you've given other people over here I've also been reading lately!)


I thought it probably made no difference as it's all freelance activity in the end, but since I'm very new to the German system and it can get a bit overwhelming, I wanted to make sure how specific they actually were on this.


Let the invoicing with the proper number begin! :D


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Hello from 2020,


I hope it's ok to use this thread, since I have a question in a somewhat similar scenario. @PandaMunich (or anyone else really) would you care to help me out on this too in case you have any idea?


I registered myself as a Kleinunternehmer last Aug to work as software developer freelancer and a month later received a letter, addresed to me and my wife, with the new Steuernummer in it and saying:


das Finanzamt hat Ihnen die Steuernummer XXXXXX zugeteilt.

Sie gilt für: Einkommensteuer.


I brought the letter to the Finanzamt lady and she confirmed that this was a confirmation that the process was successful and I should me referencing this number on my future invoices.


I did that for 2 months worth of invoices, when, for my surprise, I received a second letter addressed ONLY to me and saying:


das Finanzamt hat Ihnen die Steuernummer YYYYYYY zugeteilt.

Sie gilt für: Umsatzsteuer, Gewinnermittlung nach § 4 Abs. 3 EStG


Together with this letter I received a second letter informing that the process of opening the Kleinunternehmen was successful and a third letter with my VAT number.


Bugged with that second Steuernummer, I sent an email to the Finanzamt asking them what was that second number and they said:


Die eine Steuernummer ist nur für die Personensteuer und an Sie und Ihre Ehefrau gerichtet.

Die zweite Steuernummer ist für Ihr Unternehmen mit den Betriebssteuern und das Anschreiben ist auch nur an Sie adressiert.


Does that mean that I was using the wrong number in my invoices? Should I then change my future invoices to reference the second number instead? Will I have any problem with the past invoices with the wrong number?




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Hello Toytown members,


I hope that some will be able to answer my following questions. First, some background information for you to understand my situation:

  • I did tax returns every year from 2012 and until 2016 with a particular tax number 148/XXX/XXXXX 
  • I got married in Jan 2017 and changed my tax class to 3 
  • My wife started working as a freelancer in 2019 and we received two letters ( or tax numbers 146/XXX/XXXXX ) from Finanz Amt one for both of us and second only for my wife's freelance activity.  

Now, I want to do a tax return for the years 2017 and 2018 (voluntarily) and for 2019 (mandatory). It would be great if you can answer the following questions:

  1. Which tax number should I use for 2017 & 2018? The old one (148/XXX/XXXXX) or new one that is assigned to both of us (146/XXX/XXXXX)?
  2. Also, My wife used the new joint tax number (146/XXX/XXXXX) on bills from 2019 do we need to rewrite the bills? I think she should have used the new tax number only assigned to her.



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