You want to work as a self-employed IT professional? You can’t keep away from the tax office. However, it is relatively easy to complete this form
Disclaimer: As I am a migration consultant (and not a tax advisor!), these instructions are without liability.
This is the form # 1 if you want to work as a freelancer in Germany. This questionnaire can be submitted to the tax office of any city in Germany.
Two hints before we start:
а) You don’t have to be a genius to fill out this form. If you have trouble filling any field, leave it blank. If this is really important, the tax office will get in touch with you;
b) You can change almost all information later. All you need to do is inform your tax office by letter or email of your changes.
1: Name of the tax office assigned to your place of registration, e.g. Finanzamt Mitte/Tiergarten, Berlin
2: Your tax number (if available). Maybe you’ll get another tax number. Tip: put your tax number at the top of each sheet right at the beginning (after the word Steuernummer).
3: Tick this box
4: Leave this field blank. It is for registration of a cooperation (several freelancers)
5: Give your family name (Name) then the first name (Vorname).
6: surname at birth
7: Executed profession. Your job title, exactly as stated in your employment contract. If there is no contract with a German employer, give the job title in English.
Hint: German and English job titles – see the article High-demand occupations in Germany
8-10: Your house number according to your registration. Address extension (Adressenergänzung) – if your name is not on the letterbox, give the name to the person you trust who is registered at that address.
11: If you have a post box in a German post office and want to pick up your letters there, fill in this line.
12: Identifikationsnummer – your Tax Identification Number. Don’t misunderstand it with the Tax Number
S. the article: Tax ID or Tax Identification Number – what is that? How do I find out my tax ID?
If you do not want to pay church tax, enter the letters VD in the Religion field.
13: If you are single, leave this line blank. If you are married, enter the date of your marriage in the first field (Verheiratet / Eingetragen seit dem )
As a foreigner, it is possible that your spouse has never lived in Germany, or does not currently live or doesn’t work in Germany. If any of this applies, leave lines 14 to 20 blank.
21: Enter your phone number in international format. I have entered my number as follows: +4915903072498
22: Your landline number (if available) in the same format.
25-26: Your business / freelance activity (exact description of the branch)
If you paid too much tax, the rest will be refunded to you on that account.
27-28: IBAN, BIC
29: Bank (name, place). Examples: Spardabank Hannover or Berliner Sparkasse.
30: If it’s your bank acount, tick the box “lt. Zeile 5”. If the bank account belongs to your spouse, tick the box “lt. Zeile 14”. If the bank account should belong to a third person, enter his name after the word “oder:“.
31: Enter the following: lt. Zeile 27
32: Enter the following: lt. Zeile 28
33: Enter the following: lt. Zeile 29
34: Enter the following: lt. Zeile 30
35: Enter the following: lt. Zeile 27
36: Enter the following: lt. Zeile 28
37: Enter the following: lt. Zeile 29
38: Enter the following: lt. Zeile 30
39: The tax office can debit the tax directly from your account. If you like this option, tick the box here and enclose the direct debit authorisation (SEPA-Lastschriftmandat). If you don’t like this option, leave the field blank. In this case you will have to transfer the tax yourself.
[I recommend to transfer the tax yourself – Jaroslav Plotnikov]
40: If you have no tax advisor (Steuerberater), tick the box before Nein.
If you have no tax advisor my explanations are not necessary. In this case, fill out this questionnaire with his help.
Hint: By the way, your tax consultant or accountant can handle all correspondence with the tax office (lines 49-58). He can also set up and manage the business address for you.
If not, leave lines 59-63 blank. If so, fill in the lines as follows:
59: Date of move
61: House number – addition (e.g. 37-А). S. Notes on lines 8-10.
62: The postcode and the city
63: P.O. Box (if applicable): Postal code of the postbox, the location of the postbox, the postbox number
64: In case you register your self employment in Germany for the very first time, tick the box before Nein. If you have already paid tax in Germany, tick Ja. Then enter the according tax office and your tax number.
65: Your tax number (if available)
66: Enter the name of your company. If you are a sole trader/freelancer, your first and second name must also appear in the name of your company. Additional word(s) explain your activity or service offer, e.g. John Smith IT Consulting or John Smith Mobile Apps Developement.
67-76: If you work from home, enter your address (as in lines 7-10).
74: International code, national code, phone number. Example: +49 (0)159 03027498
77: Enter relevant date
There are no fixed rules regarding the date. You can enter almost any date, because the preparation activities are also recognized as self-employment.
Important! To issue the first invoice only after the positive decision of the tax office (or trade office).
78: Tick the box Nein. You confirm that your business has no other offices and practiced from one place only.
79-89: Leave these fields blank.
90: Tick the box Nein.
91-94: Leave these fields blank.
95: Tick the box Neugründung zum. Then write “lt. Zeile 77” The precision of the beginning is not critically important. The beginning date can be months in the future.
96-103: Leave these fields blank.
104: Previous business situation. If you are self-employed in Germany for the first time (and if you do not hold more than 1% of the shares of a company), tick Nein in line 104.
If it is your second self-employment, tickle the Ja and then enter the description of your self-employment. In lines 105-108 enter the city, the dates (from… to…), the name of your tax office, tax number or tax identification number.
Enter the estimated income from the following sources – your own (1st column) and, if applicable, your spouse (2nd column). It is only your estimation for the first calendar year and for the following calendar year (3rd column for you, 4th column for your spouse, if applicable).
109, 110: Leave these fields blank.
111: Estimated income from trade and business. If you have already registered a business in Germany, enter here the estimated income from it.
112: Estimated income from freelance. If you have already registered a freelance in Germany as Freiberufler, enter here the estimated income from it.
We’re used to define Freelance as everything what is not a regular employment. However, this is only partially correct. The tax office separates between freelancers (Freiberufler) and trader (Unternehmer / Gewerbe). What freelancers do called freelance (selbständige Arbeit). What traders do called trade (which is more precisely called Nichtselbständige Arbeit). More about it – s. here: FREELANCER vs TRADER.
While filling out this questionnaire, it is not clear how your self-employment will be finally classified (freelance or business), I recommend to enter the planned income in line 111 and leave line 110 blank.
113: Estimated income from employment (if available or expected)
114: Estimated income from capital assets (if any)
115: Estimated income from renting and leasing (if available or expected)
116: Estimated income from other income (e.g. pensions)
Whether you leave line 115 blank or not – is up to you. Perhaps you have income in your home country or in another country? Maybe this income will be taxed, maybe not? Be aware that tax avoidance in Germany is strictly punished.
Important! If you are now outside Germany and would like to come to Germany as a self-employed person, a good orientation would be the total income of 40,000-50,000 euros. It is per person and gross, i.e. before taxes and other deductions.
117: Make an estimate of your business expenses – for yourself (1st column) and for your partner (2nd column). The same again for the following year (correspondingly – columns 3 and 4). If you cannot estimate these expenditures, don’t be afraid to leave this line blank.
118: Enter for the year of business opening, as well as for the following year all expected and tax deductions – from you and, if applicable, from your spouse. If you cannot estimate this output, leave this line blank too.
119: Tick the box Еinnahmeüberschussrechnung
119-121: Leave these fields blank
122: If the beginning of your activity is the same as the beginning of the year, tick the Nein. Otherwise, tick the Ja and after the word Beginn enter the start date of your business / freelance activity (you have already entered it in line 77).
123: Leave this field blank
124-130: If you do not intend to hire regular paid employees, leave these lines blank.
131: Приблизительная сумма оборота по счетам. Определи примерную сумму оборотаза 1-й год (первое поле) и за последующий год (второе поле).
About turnover and other terms s. the article IT Freelance in Germany: basic tax terms.
132: If you register your own company / freelance (and do not adopt another company), tick the box Nein.
133: If you are going to star your business as Small Business owner (Kleinunternehmer), tick this box. If it’s not the case, leave this box blank.
134: If the planned turnover in the first calendar year does not overshoot €17,500, but you do not want to get Small Business Owner status (p. 133), leave line 134 blank.
135-147: Leave these fields blank.
148, 152: If you want to start as a Small Business owner, leave lines 148-152 blank.
149, 150: In case you are NOT Small Business owner, tick the boxes 149 and 150.
151-159: Leave these fields blank
160-165: Probably you want to start alone, just as a freelancer or a sole proprietor. In this case, leave these lines blank. If you have a cooperation with any partners (e.g. GmbH, GbR, UG, KG, OHG), then you certainly have a tax consultant. He should fill out this questionnaire. You can also contact my tax advisor (see below).
166: On the left: Place, date. On the right: Signature of you as taxpayer and, if applicable, of the spouse (or your civil partner’s) or the taxadvisor as authorised representative(s)
That’s it! My congrats!
This questionnaire is not a written test. You only have to be especially careful if you want to work as a freelancer. In this case I recommend a tax consultant. Otherwise simply fill in the fields. Fields that do not apply can be left blank.
The completed questionnaire must reach your local tax office no later than 4 weeks after starting your self-employment. In addition, attach the copy of your passport and the copy of your registration certificate (Anmeldung / Meldebescheinigung).
Your completed questionnaire will be proofed at the tax office – this usually takes 1-4 weeks. The tax office will decide whether you are self-employed as a freelancer (Freiberufler) or as a trader (Gewerbe). If your activities are very different, such as a) consulting, b) selling software of your own production, c) development of software to customer order, d) testing), then you will get several of such questionnaires to fill in and in the end several tax numbers.
Important! You can only issue the invoices after the tax office has given its approval! Not before!
Two news at the end – a bad one and a good one. The bad news: the tax office does not offer any personal completion assistance. The officials shall only point out incorrect or inadequately completed posts. Anything you do not understand, you have to clarify with a tax consultant (Steuerberater).
The good news: If you want to be on the safe side, send me ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) your completed questionnaire for verification. I’ll call you back and during the phone call we’ll go through the questionnaire together. This is free of charge.
If my skills are not strong enough, our tax consultant will call you, tell you how much his work costs and help you complete your questionnaire (for a reasonable fee).
Sources: Completion help from the tax office Brandenburg: (https://finanzamt.brandenburg.de/media_fast/4055/Ausfuellhilfe%20zum%20Fragebogen%20steuerliche%20Erfassung.pdf) and Completion Help from the Bavarian State Office for taxes
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