Advice on setting up as a freelancer

68 posts in this topic

After reading all the talk here I have chosen to register as a freelancer in Berlin

 

BUT how do I do this, if some one knows: what authority I need to go to, what documents I need, how long it should take, what tax rate I will pay, will this be payable on rental income, will I be automatically registered for VAT or is this another process, will my UK registration become void or do I need to go back to take care of that (I am only a 'normal' tax payer in the UK not a freelancer)

 

any answers to the questions above would be much appreciated

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

STB is right. Especially since you can't just choose to register as a freelancer - you can only try. Depending on what your profession is, the wording will be important as there are only certain professions which are accepted (far too many to list, but on the whole they have to do with you selling the service of what is in your mind, given credence by what you studied or qualified in. Examples being doctors, translators, teachers, and in some cases consultants). I was borderline as what I studied (languages and literature) did no match the service I am selling (technical project management) but with the help of the tax avisor I got accepted.

 

If the Finanzamt refuses the status as freelancer (which you apply for using a formwhich they send you - you can get this form from the Finanzamt and then take it to the tax advisor), you will be given the status as Gewerbetreibende/r, normal self-employed, which gives you the same advantages as freelancers have but also incurs more tax - logically enough Gewerbesteuer.

 

This all appies to EU citizens; I have no idea of regulations for non EUs.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you speak German? Are you under time pressure? Some organizations in Berlin offer free or very inexpensive courses for people who want to set up their own business (duration 3-4 days). They might not all be good, but you could for example check this link: www.gruender-beraten-gruender.de.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hi all

 

I am a photographer and film maker doing documentary projects, but I also sponsor artists and organise exhabitions for them from which I take a commission. I studied at a School of Fine Art for 2 years then transferd to a Professional Photography degree, this was all in New Zealand but I have a British passport thanks to my parents

 

I have also bought a couple of flats here and rent them out fully furnished to english speakers I am about to turn a profit on this soon so there will be tax to pay here too can I lump it all together as a freelancer ?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The taxation system is way too complicated to provide a yes or no answer to your questions. If you're working as a freelancer AND are acting as a landlord then you definitely need to get yourself a tax adviser. Internet forum are fine for finding out where to buy English newspapers, but you can't expect to get reliable tax advice from one. Do yourself a favour and get a tax adviser. Here are a couple of starters if you need an English-speaking one:

 

Financial adviser recommendations in Berlin

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am sure someone has already made this point on another thread, but it is always a good idea to start working with a tax consultant (Steuerberator) before you even start your business, earning money as a freelancer, etc.. so that you don't end up paying a high marginal rate of tax, or worse, end up owing fines or back payments to the pension system.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Third answer: contact a tax adviser. You will need one sooner or later.

 

I am sure someone has already made this point on another thread, but it is always a good idea to start working with a tax consultant

I agree that if you start getting complex cases then a tax adviser could be useful, but for basic freelancing it isn't rocket science with taxes. Maybe people are put off by all the numbers and the thought of it, but saying that you definitely need a tax specialist for basic freelancing is akin to saying you will definitely need an IT specialist to help you run your computer as a freelancer. In my opinion at least.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds reasonable, but can a Steuerberator add value initially by helping the freelancer with tax deductions? Once the freelancer gets the hang of it, perhaps further consultation is not necessary. I think that there may be a sea difference between getting a computer to work and navigating what I have heard is the most complex tax system in the world. The consequnces for bungling your taxes are usually graver than screwing up operation of a PC. Just a thought.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

 

Contacting a Steuerberater is not a bad idea, however, these persons may not consult on other legal things as taxes, such as registering you with an office. Attorneys, also consulting in taxes (N.B. not all attorneys do so!). The difference between a Freiberufler and a Gewerbetreibender can be simply described as the difference between white and blue collar professionals.

 

Alexander

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hallo,

 

I am a qualified music teacher. I wish to register as a self-employed. However from what I read here it's not very clear what the process exactly is. Is it better to register in Germany OR can I register in my country of origin (EU) and would that still be valid in Germany? Anyone any ideas/links please share with me.

 

Thanks a lot.

Denitsa

 

Topics merged by admin

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The way I see it, the only registering you would have to do, is telling the "Finanzamt" that you are going to start working "freiberuflich" as a teacher. Assuming you are allowed to work self employed in germany of course. You cant avoid that, because you are going to earn money in germany and therefor have to pay taxes. One consultation with a tax advisor before you start your business wouldnt hurt though.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Depends on your employer, your work contract and you need a work permit that allows self employment. Besides that I dont see any problems...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[adminmerge][/adminmerge]

 

Hi Everyone,

I am a 39 yr old self employed graphic designer with my own UK ltd company, currently living in Brighton UK. My wife is German and I'm considering moving to Hamburg. I have two children (I mention this for health insurance reasons).

 

I have one main client who I do nearly all my work for, who will be my source of income in Germany. I earn around £35-40K Per year from this client before tax. the client is based in The USA (in case this makes a difference with VAT et al). I have earned this around this amount every year since 2007.

 

I am hoping you guys can give me some advice about the following, to help me find out what my after-tax income would be:

 

1)Approximately how much health insurance would I pay?

2)Approximately how much tax would I pay on my income?, and what would be the best way to set up - I doubt the GMBH is the way for me to go (from what I've heard). so guessing I'd be some sort of sole-trader/ freelancer.

3)would there be extra "taxes" such as social security insurance?

4)will working for one client affect the type of company or freelancer I can be?

5)should I be "Vat Registered" (or would it be compulsory?).

 

Any advice would be very helpful, I am trying to gauge whether I can afford to move! :)

 

If I seem to have missed any questions out I'd be grateful to hear any related advice too.

 

Thanks in advance for any help - I appreciate this question must pop up a lot - I am starting a new thread so I can be specific about my situation.

Aaron

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Thanks in advance for any help - I appreciate this question must pop up a lot - I am starting a new thread so I can be specific about my situation.

 

Hi Aaron,

 

I ask you this because I know someone else will, particularly with your final sentence there: have you used the search function in the top right-hand corner yet? If you had, you probably would have come across Tax calculator clarification, which contains a very easy-to-use tax calculator, as well as dozens of other threads about taxes and health insurance in Germany that you should read so that you can then ask more specific questions. Using the search function, there is also this entire wiki about freelancing as well as 70-odd threads about freelancing, all of which contain valuable information. A lot of graphic designers stop by here as well, so search that as well. Basically you need to do some of your own legwork or people will get irritated as these questions get asked a lot, as you noted.

 

Good luck and hope to continue seeing you around the boards.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, However I have looked at some of the other threads, Which is why I have detailed my specific situation. One thing which is clear from other peoples posts is that tax etc can be very specific to your situation and type of employment. I have found a lot of information which may be wrong for my situation.

 

Thanks for the links though - they should be helpful.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Use the tax calculator.

 

Get in touch with an insurance agent. We have two here, Starshollow and john g. Both extremely nice with expertise in expats.

 

Read the threads about being a freelancer - there's Freelancing in Germany - invoicing to the US about invoicing to the US, this generally helpful one, and even Freelancing, but full-time for one client only about freelancing for one client.

 

I'm going to stop doing your homework for you now - 90% of what you're asking is all there waiting for you!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now