Fill Fragebogen zur Steuerlichen Erfassung 2023: A Line by Line English Guide
Last updated on January 6th, 2023 at 02:08 pm
Do you want to register yourself as a freelancer in Germany? Here is a line by line guide for filling Fragebogen zur Steuerlichen Erfassung in English (2023 update).
In one of my earlier posts, I described the step by step procedure for registering yourself as a freelancer/self-employed entity in Germany. One of the very crucial elements and hardest steps of that procedure is to fill out the form for declaring your freelancer taxes in Germany.
It is called the Fragebogen zur Steuerlichen Erfassung AKA the form from hell ;).
When I was setting myself up as a freelancer in Germany, it took a very long time and lots of effort to find the right information. It was also the ultimate test of my German language skills as my German language courses had not prepared me for this.
So to help other expat freelancers in Germany, I have created a line by line English guide for filling Fragebogen zur Steuerlichen Erfassung.
But first, let’s have a quick overview of this notorious form.
Download the PDF Guide at the end of this post!
Updates to the freelancer tax registration form in 2021
Post-Corona, there have been some changes to the submission process for the freelancer tax registration form. These new changes apply from 1st January 2021.
- Self-employed people in Germany are required to submit this tax registration form to their responsible tax office within one month of setting up a trade or freelance business.
- You must submit the form without being requested by the tax office first.
- The form must be submitted electronically through ELSTER (available in German only) or a tax filing software such as Sorted or Accountable (available in English and for free).
- If you do not wish to or cannot do this electronically, you can also submit it through a certified German tax advisor.
Related: ELSTER Guide in English (Updated for 2023)
1. What is Fragebogen zur Steuerlichen Erfassung?
Anyone intending to take up self-employment in Germany needs to fill in and submit this form to their local Finanzamt. This form provides your local tax authority with your personal and professional information for tax purposes.
2. Why do you need to fill Fragebogen zur Steuerlichen Erfassung?
This is an essential step for completing your tax status and receiving the relevant tax numbers for freelancing in Germany.
Based on the information you provide in this form, Finanzamt will do the following:
- Confirm your freelancer or trader status
- Assign you a tax number for your invoices
- Provide you with a VAT ID (if applicable)
- Set up an automated payment system for VAT charges or refunds, tax payments or refunds etc. (if applicable)
You May Be Interested in: How to create German VAT Invoices (Correctly!) + FREE VAT Invoice Templates
3. Where can you get Fragebogen zur Steuerlichen Erfassung
Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung is used for a number of other activities as well. Make sure that you choose the right one. The exact name of the freelancer tax registration form is this:
Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung / Aufnahme einer gewerblichen, selbständigen (freiberuflichen) oder land- und forstwirtschaftlichen Tätigkeit oder Beteiligung an einer Personengesellschaft/-gemeinschaft
You can find this form online from various sources. Here are some options for finding the right form and filling it out online.
3.1. Find the form on Google
Google Fragebogen zur Steuerlichen Erfassung. Generally, the first result will lead you to the right sources i.e. the website of Bundesministerium der Finanzen or a Finanzamt.
3.2. Get it from the website of your local Finanzamt
Your local Finanzamt will also have this form on their website.
You can search for your responsible Finanzamt by using the search terms ‘your city’ + Finanzamt. Usually, the first search result will be correct.
In the case of big cities, you may see multiple Finanzamt offices like ‘Finanzamt Nürnberg-Süd’, ‘Finanzamt Nürnberg-Nord’ and ‘Zentralfinanzamt Nürnberg’.
In such cases, just type in ‘your district + ‘zuständiges Finanzamt’. Sometimes typing in with your postcode can also lead you in the right direction.
3.3. Access it through the website of Bundesministerium der Finanzen
Go to the website of Bundesministerium der Finanzen. The form that you need is the top one on the list titled;
001 – Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung / Aufnahme einer gewerblichen, selbständigen (freiberuflichen) oder land- und forstwirtschaftlichen Tätigkeit oder Beteiligung an einer Personengesellschaft/ -gemeinschaft (Formular-ID: 034250)
Once you find the right form, it will direct you to ELSTER where you can register (if you don’t have an ELSTER account) and start filling up the form.
4. What do you need for filling Fragebogen zur Steuerlichen Erfassung
As mentioned above, you can fill it up online through ELSTER or by using a German tax filing tool.
Watch this 4 minutes video tutorial on how to use Sorted to fill the freelance tax registration form in English.
Have the following information ready on your desk when you start filling up your registration form.
- Your German tax ID number or Identifikationsnummer (again, not tax number or Steuernummer)
- Your personal details
- Your bank details
- An exact description of your future self-employment activity in German
- Financial details of your future self-employment activity
5. Understanding the Sections in Fragebogen zur Steuerlichen Erfassung
Before you fill in the lines, it is important to understand what exact information you are adding in this form. It will help you go through the form quicker.
There are eight sections in this form. I have translated them into English along with a brief explanation of what they are.
|1.||Allgemeine Angaben||General information about you and your work|
|1.1||Steuerpflichtige(r)/Beteiligte(r)||Your Last and First Name|
|1.2||Ehegatte/Ehegattin/eingetragene(r)/ Lebenspartner(in)||Your Spouse/wife/registered civil partner|
|1.3||Kommunikationsverbindungen||Your Communication Details|
|1.4||Art der Tätigkeit (genaue Bezeichnung des Gewerbezweiges)||The exact name of your intended profession. Describe it as precisely as possible. This description will help your caseworker determine whether you fit in as a freelancer (freiberufler) or a trader (Gewerber). An example of a description will be ‘Online market berater(in).|
Bankverbindung(en) für Steuererstattungen/SEPA-Lastschriftverfahren
|Bank Account(s) for Tax Refunds/SEPA Direct Debit. Here you can add one bank account for ALL tax-related transactions. You can also use separate accounts for business-related or personal transactions.|
|1.6||Steuerliche Beratung||Add the details of your Tax advisor (if you have one).|
Empfangsbevollmächtigte(r) für alle
|Here you will confirm if your tax advisor in subsection 1.6 has power of attorney and can file tax documents on behalf of you.|
|1.8||Bisherige persönliche Verhältnisse||Previous address if you changed address within the last 12 months.|
Related: What is your Self-Employment Type in Germany – Freiberufler, Freelancer or a Trader?
|2.||Angaben zur gewerblichen, selbständigen (freiberuflichen) oder land- und forstwirtschaftlichen Tätigkeit||Information about intended commercial, self-employed (freelance) or agricultural and forestry activity|
|2.1||Anschrift des Unternehmens||Address of your company. If you are a solo freelancer, then you can use your name plus your service. For example, my official business is name is Yamini Gautam Online Marketing. Another example could be John Connor Photography|
|2.2||Beginn der Tätigkeit (inklusiveVorbereitungshandlungen)||Write down the start of your work (including preparatory actions)|
|2.3||Betriebsstätten||Write down your company branches sites if you have any. This option probably does not apply to you if you are a freelancer.|
|2.4||Handelsregistereintragung||Record of the Commercial Registration – again, add only if applicable.|
|2.5||Gründungsform (Bitte ggf. die entsprechenden Verträge beifügen!)||Form of incorporation (Please enclose the corresponding contracts if necessary!)|
|2.6||Bisherige betriebliche Verhältnisse||Describe your past working situation over the last five years. If you have had any business, self-employment or freelancing or an agricultural and forestry activity then add the details here.|
|3.||Angaben zur Festsetzung der Vorauszahlungen (Einkommensteuer, Gewerbesteuer)||In this section, you will add information on the determination of advance payments (income tax, trade tax)|
|3.1||Voraussichtliche Einkünfte aus:||Here you can add your estimated income from the following. If you are a freelancer then only Self-employment activities may apply to you.|
|Land- und Forstwirtschaft||Agriculture and forestry|
|Selbständiger Arbeit||Self-employment activities|
|Nichtselbständiger Arbeit||Income from non-self-employment work|
|Kapitalvermögen||Investments and Financial assets|
|Vermietung und Verpachtung||Renting and leasing|
|Sonstigen Einkünften (z. B. Renten)||Other income (e.g. pensions)|
|3.2||Voraussichtliche Höhe der-||Add the estimated amount of the|
|Sonderausgaben||Special business expenses and depreciation|
Sections 4 – 8
|4.||Angaben zur Gewinnermittlung||Add Information about how you will report your income to Finanzamt.|
|Gewinnermittlungsart||Here you can describe the method of income reporting.
You have a few options here, but most freelancers in Germany choose ‘income statement’ or a ‘balance sheet’ methods.
|5.||Freistellungsbescheinigung gemäß § 48b Einkommensteuergesetz (EStG)-||Exemption certificate according to § 48b of the German Income Tax Act (EStG).
This section is for those who want to apply for a certificate of exemption from a tax deduction for construction services. This part does not apply to most freelancers in Germany.
|Angaben zur Anmeldung und Abführung der Lohnsteuer||Information on the registration and payment of Wage tax. This section is relevant for those who have employees. If you do not have any employees then leave out this section.|
|7.||Angaben zur Anmeldung und Abführung der Umsatzsteuer||In this section, you will add information for the registration and payment of VAT tax.
You will also add your estimated total revenue, whether or not you want to opt-in Kleinunternehmerregelung, and other fields.
There is also an option to establish a Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS). If you sell digital content (software, ebooks, apps) or digital services (web hosting, referrals, software as a service) to customers in other EU countries, you can opt for a Mini-One-Stop-Shop. Read more about it here.
|8.||Angaben zur Beteiligung an einer Personengesellschaft/-gemeinschaft||This section is relevant to those who are establishing a partnership or a joint venture.|
6. Line by Line Guide for Filling up Fragebogen zur Steuerlichen Erfassung in English
Please note that even though this line-by-line Fragebogen zur Steuerlichen Erfassung guide is in English, you should fill this form in German. If you do not have sufficient German skills, get help from a German friend or family or a translator to formulate your answers.
Here’s how you can use this guide:
After Downloading the PDF, you will find a number of yellow boxes called ‘Notes’. There is a note for each line or a group of lines. Click on any yellow box to open the guide. You will see the description and required action for that line.
To close the box, simply click on another yellow box or any other field in the form.
My recommendation would be to use a different copy of Fragebogen zur Steuerlichen Erfassung in English. This PDF guide is not editable. You can also use the online form mentioned in subsection 3.3 and aim to fill this form within 45 minutes.
Now without further ado…download your 2020 updated guide to Fragebogen zur Steuerlichen Erfassung in English.
Thanks for this scrumptious guide. I am originally an English teacher but working as a project manager/coordinator in Erasmus+ projects. My tasks as a project manager/coordinator include copyrighting, creating educational contents, instructional guides, translation, proofreading and editing for EU-funded projects without commercial purposes. In this sense, it seems I can be a freelancer, but when i check some freelance professions list, it seems as a trader one. Do you think i should declare myself as projektleiterin or beraterin? Really appreciate your feedback.
Hey Kübra, Thank you! 🙂 Obviously, I am not a professional tax advisor and not in a position to offer advice on specific cases. I would recommend directly asking a tax consultant for individual advice. Good luck!
Hello Yamini and all,
Thankyou for this website , its excellent .
I have a quick question :
1. I possess German RP(Family Reunion Visa) where its mention “erwerbstätigkeit erlaubt”
Do I have to apply for freelancer visa separately or just freelance tax number will do?
2. As I will be working as a contractor for an Irish company base in dublin , do I have to go with some different procedure?
Thanks and regards
1) I’m not sure if “erwerbstätigkeit erlaubt” includes self-employment (selbstständig tätigkeit). Maybe you can call up or write to your visa officer to confirm.
2) No, freelancers registered in Germany can work with clients from abroad.
ความ หมาย ของ ดอก กุหลาบ สี แดง
Very nice write-up. I definitely love this site.
Wonder if you could help me to understand how should I proceed if I live outside Germany, hope you do.
Found a job as freelancer in Bonn, Germany but I actually live in another EU country (right now, in Austria) so I’ve just started looking information about where should I pay taxes. I actually started by checking if I should do so in Germany, so my questions are: Do I have to do the procedure different since I am not living in Germany? And, if I live in Austria, am I exent of paying any of the taxes a freelancer should pay when living inside Germany?
Thanks for your help in advance.
Are you a resident of Austria and registered as a freelancer there? Then you will be obligated to report income and file taxes according to Austrian tax laws (including income earned from international clients). I’m not informed about Austrian laws so obviously, I cannot advise on that. 🙂
Thank you for your quick response. I am not register as a freelancer in Austria either since I am here for studying puposes and maximum for 6 month more. That is why I was thinking on registrating directly in Germany but with my Austrian address. I do not know if that is possible, do you know?
I don’t so 🙂 You need a legal German residency to register as a freelancer with German tax authorities. Since you are a resident in Austria, your tax obligations are tied there.
I just finished a longer, more detailed explanation for the 2021 Fragebogen. It includes a lot more information about some of the subsections that could help some of your readers: https://allaboutberlin.com/guides/fragebogen-zur-steuerlichen-erfassung
hello Yamini and Nicolas
Thank you both for the useful documents to help with the Fragebogen zur steuerlichen erfassung. I have a question which i was hoping one of you would beable to answer. I have worked through the questioinaire on getsorted.de which was great however there is one question that i am unsure how to answer.
It asks for expected profit for first year (2021). As this is my first year (less than as I only began in August) my earnings minus my expenses are still a negative balance. can I write down a negative profit ? or should it be the money that i earned (not including the expenses)?
I hope you will have an answer for me.
Hey Sarah, If the form asks for ‘profit’ then it should be total revenue minus business expenses. In some cases, it can be negative (e.g. a loss). I hope this helps? 🙂
I’ve spent days looking for this information in English or Polish. Everywhere I went people were writing only about Gewerbe and Kleingewerbe not a word about Freiberuch. Your article is just the thing I was looking for! Thank you 😀
Hi Karolina, thank you so much! I’m happy to hear that this was helpful to you. 🙂 Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions about this 🙂
Hello Yamini – thank you for sharing these valuable insights! I have recently moved to Germany and planning to set up my photography registered here. YOur blog is quite helpful! However, please note that I have not received the guide yet. If possible then please send me asap. Thank you!
Hi Saurabh, I sent it to you via email. Please note there’s a prompt to download soon after you fill-up the form. It’s easy to miss or close the browser 🙂
I signed up yesterday to get your “2020 updated guide to Fragebogen zur Steuerlichen Erfassung in English”, but it hasn’t arrived yet.
Sorry about this and thanks for letting me know. I just sent you the form via email. Would you be able to share if you received any error messages? I tested the form again and it is not showing any errors from my side. Thank you!
Hi! thanks for all the info. You used as an example of an activity description ‘Online market berater(in)’. Based on your experience and knowledge, would this job be granted a freiberufler or a Gewerber classification by the tac office?
I am an ‘online marketing beraterin’ 🙂 – Finanzamt classified me as a Freiberuflerin.
Hello Yamini! I am a photographer and I just moved last year to Berlin. I haven’t done so much money last year, and I am running on the programme under 17500. I subscribed to Elster and tried to complete everything, but I really don’t know what to do with all the questions about my expenses, because I didn’t keep any recipe and also didn’t have many expenses in fact, I heard you can put 0 but I am not so sure. Thanks!
If there are no expenses at all, then there’s no need to add any. But I think any business has at least a few outgoings or depreciations per year. I covered business expenses in this post – https://mademoisellein.de/top-business-expenses-for-freelancers-in-germany
You can see if this gives some ideas for your work? 🙂 Good luck!
Thank you for this guide! I have a couple questions. I am a freelance writer/journalist who just moved to Germany. All of my clients are in the US so a German tax advisor (who I spoke to briefly, but do not use due to the price it costs) told me I will not need to pay VAT tax. Should I still get a VAT number and fill out that section? Or, does filling out that section of the form make me obligated to pay VAT taxes?
Another question is, if my official freelance name were to be “First Name Last Name Writer/Journalist” does that need to be on all my official documents, such as invoices? I have been freelancing for a year and have always just used my full name for invoices where I lived before.
One more question, when you speak about Gewinnermittlungsart, what exactly is that? How often do I need to report my income as a freelancer and what is the best way to show this to the tax office?
Thank you for any help!
1) Freelancers registered in Germany do not need to charge VAT to US clients. This is also what my tax advisor has told me. I have broken down the VAT charges for various regions in this post. Charging VAT to international clients. Adding VAT ID in the details shouldn’t oblige you to charge VAT because your client’s business is registered in a 3rd country.
2) You can use your first name last name on the invoices. This is very common for freelancers in Germany.
3) Gewinnermittlungsart is how self-employed people report their yearly profits/ losses to the Tax office. Most freelancers in Germany use Einnahmenüberschussrechnung (EÜR). As for the frequency, the tax office will inform you once you have registered as a freelancer with them.
You mentioned that we cannot get paid in Germany without a valid invoice with a tax number.
What is the case when we bloggers get income from google AdSense or other affiliated platform like Awin?
After I receive money from them, I just got a confirmation from them but I cannot put my tax number anywhere.
Do I need to issue invoice to them somehow with my tax number?
Sorry, I’m not sure what you mean by ‘putting tax number anywhere’. I will say though that you have to register with Finanzamt and declare your blog generated income to them. You get your tax number when you register with them as a self-employed person. Maybe it will be best to consult a tax advisor about this.
I have already a tax number. I just wonder what to do when I receive money from Awin or Google AdSense or other affiliated platforms. Do I need to invoice them?
Are you registered with Finanzamt as a self-employed person? You have to add your (Self-employment/VAT) tax number (not the Tax ID) in your Google AdSense or affiliate account details. They ask for it when you register with them.
Once they send you the payment you will notice all these details in the automatically generated invoice. It should be either in your account’s transaction history or in a confirmation email that they send.
Again, my tip will be to discuss this with your tax consultant so they can properly advise on the best way to handle this. Every Finanzamt deals with this kind of income in a different way.
Thanks for the info. I am registered as Kleinunternehmen and got a tax number from the Finanzamt. My tax adviser said I need to put this number on all the invoices.
Yes I tried to find a place in AdSense or other affiliated network to put in this tax number but most of them do not have a field for tax number. That’s why I have no idea how I can include my tax number in the automatically generated invoice. I was just wondering how other bloggers in Germany do it as I guess many bloggers are using AdSense…
Hey Sindy, I’m not with AWIN, but with a couple of other aff networks. There is a field for tax number under business details with them. Contact their customer care if you don’t see any in your account backend. I can only do so much from a comments’ section 😉
Thanks for information. My situation is peculiar where research foundation will provide me monthly stipend to carry out the research activities in Germany. However, I have to take care of my taxes, health, pension and unemployment insurance. Do I fit the label of freelancer? and therefore fill Fragebogen zur Steuerlichen Erfassung form. Please guide me.
Hey Amit, I really doubt that a researcher getting a monthly allowance will qualify as a freelancer. Freelancers generate income from multiple clients, not one single source.
You will fit in another tax category, maybe it’s best to reach out to fellow researchers in a similar situation.