Part time work in Germany. What does freiberuflich, nebenberuflich, ehrenamtlich, gewerblich, Minijob mean

Last Updated on September 26, 2023

Part time work in Germany can be: work for the minimum wage (Minijob), in the form of a small individual business or work on honorar. You can earn extra money while having a main paid job at the firma, but also a main unpaid job in the family or being a student.

For example, many come up with the idea to somehow monetize their wonderful photos. The entrance to such an activity is very simple – register in the stock and sell. Or work in a Verein, as a tutor, filming events on weekends, babysitting…

What is selbstständig, Unternehmer, Honorar, Firma in Germany
Freiberufler in Germany: how to fill in Anlage S and Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung
And you thought you were being praised. German certificate of employment Arbeitszeugnis
Who should file a tax return in Germany
Who can apply for German citizenship
Pre-filled declaration in Elster

The question: how will the tax office look at this?

Three things are important about your part-time job for the tax office:

  • are you employed or self-employed?
  • occupation type
  • how much do you get

Depending on this, you will fill different applications to the declaration and pay / not pay taxes

It is important to remember that on the path of a person who has an innocent goal of improving his financial situation, not only tax office, but also other organizations are in ambush: the health insurance, social and pension insurance, craftsman’ associations and even garbage collectors.

One of the most important limits: with an income of more than 485 euros per month (2023, average, as my Krankenkasse said) you are out of family insurance and get a lot of additional headaches with social fees.

Part time work in Germany – nebenberufliche Tätigkeit

Part time work in Germany that takes up less than one-third of the equivalent full-time job is called nebenberufliche Tätigkeit. Several different such activities are considered each separately, and the same ones are summarized. If such work is related to the main work, then it is not considered additional.

Nebenberufliche Tätigkeit can also be for those who do not have a main job – housewives, students, etc. The quantity is important – 15 hours a week are considered the limit in the absence of other work. If there is another job, then the limit is 48 hours per month, which, under certain conditions, can be increased to 60 hours per month. But daily restrictions of 8 working hours a day and a break between working time of 11 hours must also be observed.

Often the main employer requires that he be informed about additional work. He has the right to prohibit it if:

  • work is carried out in the interests of a competing firm
  • it harms the interests of the employer. For example, the legally established norms of working hours of 8 hours a day with an 11-hour break between working hours are violated. Or a person works on vacation instead of resting. However, different options are possible here depending on specific cases.

Part time job can be:

Minijob – working for the minimum wage, until the border, when taxation and social contributions begin (520 euros). It can be two Minijobs, but the rules the same (working hours limit and earning together not more than 520 euros)

Microjob – occasional small jobs with minimal pay

ehrenamtlich -socially important “honorable” work, volunteer

freiberuflich – “free” professions: creative, therapeutic or educational work, see the full list below

gewerblich – self-employed, but not in “free” professions or volunteer

The most unprofitable thing is to earn more than the minimum wage on the second job as an employee. Then the second job falls into the 6th class of taxation with a high tax rate. For example, when changing to a new job, my husband was compensated for the remaining vacation for 2 days, while they took 40 percent of the tax and contributions from this sum for the 6th class.

Income from nebenberufliche Tätigkeit, which has preferential taxation (freiberuflich or ehrenamtlich), for those who also have a main job as employee, is indicated in Anlage N.
The self-employed and volunteer (ehrenamtlich) without main job must fill in Anlage S and Anlage EÜR.

Tax return in Germany. Elster online. Anlage N. 2. Working expenses
Filling in Anlage N and costs of way to work
Tax declaration Germany. Anlage EÜR
Anlage S: Freiberufler in Germany: how to fill in Anlage S and Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung


If an employee receives an income of up to 520 euros per month, this is called a Minijob. The Minijob is taxed on a lump-sum basis and is done by the employer. However, you can negotiate additional social contributions.

Therefore, the Minijob is not reflected in the declaration in most cases, except in cases where the employee and the employer have agreed to draw up Lohnsteuerbescheinigung.

Until 2021, the limit was 450 euros.
From October 1, 2022, it was raised to 520 euros, as the minimum hourly wage increased.
Therefore, it is necessary to monitor the maximum number of hours. If in 2021 it was limit 46 hours per month, in the first half of 2022 it was 45 hours, and in the second half of the year it was 43 hours.
Due to the increase, you will need to recalculate the number of hours, taking into account the current hourly wage.


A Microjob is an occasional part-time job with very little pay. For example, you test products, participate in surveys, photograph something for advertisers, give reviews for money, and proofread texts.

Despite the meager income, usually this work belongs to Gewerbe (business). That is, you must establish a Gewerbe, fill out Anlage G and Anlage EÜR.

The main trap here is not at all taxes, up to which you are unlikely to earn, but the annual payment for garbage. If they want 40 euros a year from you for non-existent garbage as an entrepreneur, then your work for 50 euros a year will be meaningless. Garbage pay is different in different towns.

From 24.500 euros per year, these incomes are taxed, but then we are unlikely to talk about Microjobs. From 520 euros/month you must pay social contributions.

Tax declaration Germany. Anlage EÜR
Anlage G


“Honorable work” is work for the community. As a rule, it is almost not paid – rather the time spent is compensated.

Ehrenamtlich are:

  • volunteer firefighters, rescue technicians (THW),
  • coach in a sports club, swimming pool or teacher on the honorar (Übungsleiter)
  • election assistant Wahlhelfer
  • helpers in the church
  • assistants in social organizations: hospice, working with difficult youth, refugees, problem families, homeless people, abandoned animals, etc.
  • climate activists
  • employee representatives in the organization (Betriebsrat, Personalrat, Azubi representatives)

Up to 840 euros per year for this work is tax-free.

Those working in the fields of education (Übungsleiter, Ausbilder, Erzieher, Betreuer), art, with old, sick people, disabled people have a higher limit of up to 3,000 euros per year.

To use this tax exemption, you must work for the relevant public organization and nebenberuflich, that is, no more than a third of the time of full-time work.

Those who also have a job (employee) report their income from this job in Anlage N, self-employed workers in Anlage S.
If you do not have another job, you will need to register as a Freiberufler in order to declare income from this activity in Anlage S.

Filling in Anlage N and costs of way to work
Freiberufler in Germany: how to fill in Anlage S and Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung
Tax declaration Germany. Anlage EÜR

What does freiberuflich mean

You want to do work from the list of “free” professions, that is, to be a Freiberufler. Freiberufler can work both part-time nebenberuflich and full-time. Freiberufler and freelancer are not the same. In Germany Freiberufler have certain occupation.

“Free” jobs include:

  • doctors and therapists, veterinarians, psychologists, speech therapists and other similar professions
  • professions related to law, taxes and economics (for example, lawyers, notaries and tax consultants)
  • technical professions (architects, building engineers, chemists, etc.)
  • creative professions (journalists, creative photographers, musicians, artists, singers, actors, translators, writers)
  • professions related to training and education (teachers, educators, babysitter (Tagesmutter))

Some professions are valued differently depending on what exactly a person does. Be sure to check the requirements for your specific activity.

For example, photographers can be craftmen (those who take photos for passports, portraits, wedding photos, etc., they are registered as Gewerbe) and artistic (those who sell their work as a work of art, they are Freiberufler). Moreover, if the sale goes through stocks, then it is rather Gewerbe, as well as work for advertising agencies. And if through photo agencies or as a photojournalist, then Freiberufler.

Potters or those who make bijou are considered Handwerkers.

Ballet dancers are Freiberufler, non-ballet dancers are not.

More examples are here: What is selbstständig, Unternehmer, Honorar, Firma in Germany

If you combine “free” and “commercial” activities, then the rule of separate registration applies. But: as soon as commercial activity exceeds 3 percent in income, then everything else also goes into commercial activity. This is called “infection” of the “free” activity.

Unlike other individual entrepreneurs, Freiberufler:

  • do not have to register a business, but must simply report to the Finanzamt that they are a Freiberufler. To do this, a special form is filled out and submitted to the FA
  • do not pay corporate tax (Gewerbesteuer)
  • are not required to maintain a double accounting
  • people in the creative professions who earn more than 3900 a year must belong to a special insurance company – Künstlersozialkasse.

The form for the FA is called Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung and is downloadable from the Internet.

Freiberufler in Germany: how to fill in Anlage S and Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung

Income is reflected in the Anlage S declaration.

Since the income we are talking about now is less than 17,500 euros per year, our activities are considered as small business (Kleinunternehmen). We are required to fill out the Anlage EÜR application detailing income and expenses (since 2017, everyone except those working ehrenamtlich on tax-free amounts) and, as Freiberufler, are not required to make a double accounting.

Tax declaration Germany. Anlage EÜR

Small business (Gewerbe)

Individual entrepreneurs, self-employed who are obliged to open Gewerbe, will include for example bloggers earning money on advertising, certain photographers, various self-employed craftsmen.

If you earn up to 410 euros a year, then you can take your time to open a Gewerbe – irregular earnings on some kind of passion are regarded as a hobby. You must work on it purposefully and regularly and for profit, than it will be business and it doesn’t matter how much you earn. That is, two or three sold hats per year will be a hobby, regularly appearing with the aim of selling hats will be Gewerbe.

Setting up the Gewerbe isn’t too torturous, but there are some costs you need to be prepared for. Be sure to check your activity.
For some occupations, you need to have a certain certificate (Masterbrief), and this list changes regularly. For example, photographers were excluded from it.
Some craftsmen must have a insurance. For example people of creative professions with earnings from 3900 per year have insurance in the Künstlersozialkasse.

How to make Gewerbe

– first you need to go to the Gewerbeamt in the city hall and declare your enterprise. It will cost some euro depending on the city and type of activity (about 10-60 euros)

How to fill in the Gewerbeanmeldung

– the city takes the money, stamps your application and sends it back to you. This paper must be kept. It is possible that this will be your only confirmation as an entrepreneur.

– the city informs the tax office and IHK (craftsmen’s association). They send you regular forms in which you repeat about the same thing. IHK is primarily interested in contributions. If you receive too little, that is, you are a Kleinunternehmen, then you do not have to pay anything.

– if you are not a craftsmen (which includes everyone involved in services and works), but a seller, then you will be included in the Handelskammer. The contribution will depend on the earning.

– for some specialties there are additional insurance obligations. For example, photographers must be covered by BG ETEM (accident insurance) but can exempt themselves if they work less than 100 days a year.

– Garbage collectors will also be informed. They will want to know the volume of your garbage, and will present an invoice for payment. In the absence of garbage, there may be options from exemption from payment to requiring a minimum payment in any case. If the amount of 40-70 euros is significant for your “enterprise”, you should explore the rules in your city in advance.

Gewerbe owners fill out Anlage G, which is much like Anlage S, and Anlage EÜR (income-expense accounting).

About how to fill Anlage G
Tax declaration Germany. Anlage EÜR

Up to 22,000 euros per year, you do not have to pay Umsatzsteuer (value added tax, which is passed on to the consumer and has an inconvenient prepayment and return arrangement).

Up to 24,500 euros of profit per year is free of Gewerbesteuer.

Other posts about #tax free return in Germany
#work in Germany

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