There’s an old law from 1913 that will interest you if you’re a freelance teacher in Germany. It’s from §2 of Book 6 of the German Social Code, it covers the Statutory Pension System in Germany, and it goes a little something like this:
Category Archive: Freelance Life
“I’ve got this great full-time job offer in Germany, but they want to hire me as a freelancer.”
This isn’t always ill-intentioned, but when your company offers to hire you in Germany as a full-timer but wants you to write them invoices as a freelancer instead of employing you, they might not have your best interests at heart. Or they might just have no clue about how employment law in Germany works. In any case, it might cause some serious problems for them and for you later down the track.
It’s known as the “artists health insurance scheme”, the “artists social security fund”, the “Künstlersozialversicherung” and the “artists and publicists’ insurance”. In any case, it can be hard to find information online in English about the Künstlersozialkasse (KSK). We’ve put together the basics and the answers to some very frequently asked questions.
I coach English-speaking freelancers on setting themselves up as self-employed in Germany. A typical coaching will take you through the basics – how to get a freelance tax number, what information you need to have on your invoices, how the Finanzamt will treat you for tax purposes, information on the insurance system, dealing with clients in other countries, tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way.
Over the years, I’ve gathered a list of issues that really perplex expats. You might not think these things are a big deal right now, but they certainly would be if you get audited 5 years down the track. Here are some tips for starting out your German freelance adventure with great accounting habits.
Great news from the Bürgeramt! 2017 has brought with it a wave of days marked in blue on the online calendar – that means you can even get same-day appointments at registration offices across Berlin! Get clicking!
You might have noticed things have been quiet on the blog front lately as Kathleen has taken advantage of the flexibility of freelancer life to head to Singapore for a month in her other incarnation as a renowned opera singer. While the team in Berlin manages Red Tape Translation during local office hours and continues to support our clients at a variety of local authorities’ offices, Kathleen is still consulting with our clients all over the world from Singapore via Skype – we feel like we are operating a truly international business this month!
Kathleen took time out from her rehearsal schedule recently to talk to the crew at Solobeing on what she loves about the freelancer lifestyle.
Getting out of Unemployment with Self-Employment: The Gründungszuschuss
If you are facing unemployment in Germany or are right in the middle of it, you might be interested to know about a grant that the Agentur für Arbeit offers to job seekers on ALG1 unemployment benefits if they want to start a business in Germany. The idea of this “new business grant” (Gründungszuschuss) is to get people out of unemployment (ALG I) by encouraging them to become self-employed or to start a company. Naturally, this won’t suit everyone, so the Agentur für Arbeit is really interested in making sure that you’re the entrepreneurial type and that you have a viable idea before they approve your application.
It is difficult to find information about the Gründungszuschuss in English. Here are the basics.
Breaking News for 2016: The Berlin Ausländerbehörde has just made a decision to stop accepting ALL international health insurance plans. This might affect you if you’re going for the Artist’s Visa or the freelance work permit in Germany.
A client of mine left the Ausländerbehörde yesterday feeling very confused. She had done everything right.
If you’ve gone through the paperwork for the residency permit for the purpose of freelance work (affectionately known among creatives as the Artist’s Visa), you probably didn’t read anything about needing job offers. The official website encourages you to bring your CV and references, but no-one says anything about needing to have work lined up before you can even start!
If you have successfully obtained an “artist’s visa” (that is, a permit to work freelance in Germany), congratulations! A big part of your battle through the web of German bureaucracy is now complete. Even better if you already have clients and contacts lined up. Now it’s time to get working and watch the money come rolling in!
There are consultants in Berlin charging between 750EU and 900EU to prepare your paperwork and talk you through the process of getting an Artists Visa (Freelance Visa) in Berlin. Red Tape Translation was surprised to discover that some consultants will offer to fill out your paperwork for you, potentially influencing your answers on the application form to ensure that you will be defined as an artist, and issued a work permit on the spot.
While Red Tape Translation can certainly understand the appeal of avoiding bureaucracy, I find the practice concerning for a number of reasons:
Red Tape Translation has been reading a lot of blog posts lately written by Berlin expats who obtained their freelance artist visas and want to share their knowledge with the world. Most of them are incredibly helpful and well-meaning, but there is one discrepancy which might cause a bit of confusion on the Berlin freelance scene, and we’d like to help clear it up.