Tax office and taxes

Most occupations in the arts are considered as self-employment. In Germany self-employed individuals are obliged to pay income taxes and need to submit an annual tax declaration. The basic tax-free amount is 9.168 Euros in 2019 for singles (2020: 9.408 Euros).

VAT / small business
Self-employed individuals are obliged to pay a value added tax (VAT). However, they are eligible to declare themselves a ‘small business’ (Kleinunternehmer). Kleinunternehmer, who had an income of less than 17.500 Euros (up to and including 2019, thereafter 22.000 Euros) during the last year and are prospectively not going to earn more than 50.000 Euros during the current year can decide for themselves whether or not they want to charge and pay a value added tax. 

Registration at the tax office
In order to become registered for the tax payment it is necessary to request a tax number within four weeks upon the beginning of the self-employment. The request needs to be directed towards the tax office within the county of residence of the taxpayer. The taxpayer needs to register at the tax office. This can be done with a short letter including personal data and a description of the artistic work. The tax office subsequently sends a form called ‘Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung’, in which the taxpayer needs to state which kind of work they are planning to pursue and indicate the estimated income.
A list of tax offices in Berlin can be found on the internet:

Download „Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung“ (german):
Titel of the form: Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung / Aufnahme einer gewerblichen, selbständigen (freiberuflichen) oder land- und forstwirtschaftlichen Tätigkeit oder einer Vermietungstätigkeit/ Beteiligung an einer Personengesellschaft/ -gemeinschaft.

Related Links:
Touring Artists:

Information required on German invoices: