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International Artists In Germany

© shutterstock.com - MANDY GODBEHEAR
© shutterstock.com - MANDY GODBEHEAR
You're an artist wanting to come to Germany? Wondering whether you'll need a visa, what the tax situation is like, and how the social insurance system works? This is what you'll need to know:

Visa requirement for non-EU citizens

You intend to work and/or stay in Germany for more than three months and you are not a citizen of an EU or EEA country, or a citizen of Switzerland? Prior to travelling to Germany, you'll need to apply for a visa at a German embassy or consulate general in your home country. You will need to be able to prove that you work as an artist and you need documentation to show that you have the financial means to fund your stay. The final requirement is an approval by the appropriate Foreigners Registration Office in Germany.   

 

Income tax and sales tax (VAT) 

As a rule you pay your income tax in your country of residence. However, the country in which, for example, an actor gives a guest performance has a claim on the particular income achieved locally. To prevent this income from being taxed twice, so-called Double Taxation Agreements (in german: Doppelbesteuerungsabkommen) are in force between various countries.
 

Find out whether Germany has a double taxation agreement with your home country by, for example, checking the German Federal Ministry of Finance website. Information on treaties for the avoidance of double taxation concluded by Member States can be found on the European Commission website: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/individuals/treaties_en.htm.

 

The kind of artistic work you do determines the type of taxation liability and the country it arises in: Are you employed, or a self-employed performer, or a freelance artist? Do you give lectures or run workshops, or does your income originate from royalties or licence fees?

 

If you are liable for sales tax (VAT), you'll need to add the sales tax to the sales price on your invoice, and pay the amount sales tax to the tax office. You'll pay sales tax on purchases for your business but this will be refunded to you at a later date. Find detailed information on taxation on the Touring Artists site at http://www.touring-artists.info/steuern.html?&L=1

 

Social insurance

In Germany, employees are automatically covered by a compulsory insurance, provided their income is below the compulsory insurance limit (called Pflichtversicherungsgrenze or Beitragsbemessungsgrenze (BBG)). 

Under the Artists' Social Security Scheme (Künstlersozialversicherungsgesetz (KSVG)), freelance and self-employed artists are liable for compulsory insurance with the Künstlersozialkasse.