Last Updated on January 21, 2023
What is selbstständig and how does it differ from Unternehmen? Selbstständig in Germany is an individual entrepreneur with a small business, as opposed to Unternehmen with a bunch of employees? Freiberufler is a freelancer or not only? And if I work for a Honorar – am I a Freiberufler? Let’s take a look at the statuses.
What is Öffentliche Dienst
Who belongs to Freiberufler and what other forms of part-time work are there in Germany (Minijob, ehrenamtlich)
Credit cards in Germany
German tax return. Anlage WA-Est
Home office tax deduction in German tax return
All tax deductions (in German income tax declaration)
Who is employer. What is selbstständig, Unternehmer, Freiberufler
Workers in Germany are divided into two large groups according to who employs:
- they employ themselves – and then they are Selbstständige, self-employed
Selbstständige for tax purposes are divided into:
- self-employed in “free” professions — Freiberufler
- entrepreneurs in commercial activities (not free profession, agrar, forest or mining) with the opening of Gewerbe. They are also called Gewerbetreibende.
Freiberufler have a number of tax releases, so they must avoid any commercial activity, otherwise it “infects” their “free” activity.
Any self-employed in activities related to their self-employed work will be entrepreneurs – Unternehmer and have an enterprise – Unternehmen. This is the legal status that distinguishes them in rights from the Verbraucher, the consumer.
The category of sole entrepreneurs Einzelunternehmer is not tax-relevant. The self-employed, including Freiberufler, may be the sole employee of themselves, or may have other employees. This is reflected in social contributions for employees, but not reflected in taxes.
If a self-employed person has a trading Gewerbe and is listed in the Handelsregister, then he will have Firma – a protected trade name is meant that distinguishes him from others.
Who belongs to Freiberufler and what other forms of part-time work are there in Germany.
Filling out Anlage S forms
About Gewerbe and how to fill in Anlage G
2. someone else employs them – and then they are Beschäftigter or Arbeitnehmer, workers
Arbeitnehmer may work for:
- state — Beamter
- state, but not as Beamter — Arbeitnehmer im öffentliche Dienst
- an ordinary commercial firm
What is Öffentliche Dienst.
Unlike the self-employed, employees enjoy a range of social protections: guaranteed vacations, paid sick leave, protection from dismissal, employer participation in their social contributions.
So I am as a blogger:
- Freiberufler – if I work in free profession, such as writting and sell a digital books
- Gewerbetreibende – if I earn money with advertisements
- Einzelunternehmer – because I have no employees
- Kleinunternehmer – because I earn very little and don’t have to make an accounting
- I have no Firma
Gewerbe or freiberuflich?
Let’s consider typical cases of “free work”.
photographer: classes, kindergartens, passports, stocks, advertising agencies
photographer: reporting, work for agencies (not advertising)
freiberuflich, if the number of children does not exceed the limit established by the federal state
Blogger, Influencer, You-Tuber with advertising in money or other fee (for example, you receive products for free)
instructor in sport club
freiberuflich (often also ehrenamtlich)
teacher on Honorar in VHS, social club (Verein)
texter, redactor or similar as Freelancer
ingeniuer or similar as Freelancer, programmer, that makes new programms
programmer, that uses or rebuilds existing systems and does not create any individual applications or other digital products
translator, who does not offer any third-party or additional services
musicians as Street musician, musicians at events, music teacher
Freiberuflich. If musicians something sell (CD-discs, notes, shirts with groups logo), they should Gewerbe register
By type of payment. What is Honorarbasis
By type of payment, work can be
- regular salary under a contract of employment
- honorarium (Honorar) based
The Honorar assumes that you then have to calculate yourself taxes and social contributions from this amount.
To prevent a Honorar from being ““visibility”” when one worker works for the same employer, but on unfavorable terms of a Honorar rather than a normal contract, Honorar-workers usually work on different projects for different employers.
In terms of taxation, they are subject to general rules: as Freiberufler, or Gewerbe, or as a small part-time job in parallel with regular work (nebenberuflich).
In the social insurance plan, Honorar-employees (they are all self-employed), are subject to the rules for the self-employed, i.e. depending on the amount earned, the profession and the number of hours worked.
Self-employed on a Honorarbasis who work on behalf various of companies can also be called Freelancers or freie Mitarbeiter. But this term has no meaning for tax or rights.
By amount of work
Work can be
- full time work Vollzeit
- part-time work Teilzeit (fewer hours than full time)
- part-time work as additional work — nebenberuflich
Nebenberuflich — this is a third of full-time work, which is expressed in figures as up to 15 hours a week if there is no other work, and up to 8 hours a week if there is 40-hour work (moreover, on weekends, since otherwise the border of a maximum of 8 hours may be violated in a day).
This usually includes the Minijob as the hourly pay is fixed and you can only work on a Minijob for a little over 40 hours a month.