Once you’ve been in Germany for a few years, the restrictions imposed on your work permit might melt away with the magic words “Erwerbstätigkeit gestattet” or “Erwerbstätigkeit erlaubt”. But these words can be misleading and have been known to put freelancers in a tight spot. We explain the confusing caveats of “free access to the job market”.
Category Archive: Dealing with Problems
Dealing with Burnout in Germany
This article is dedicated to immigrants and expats seeking help for burnout symptoms in Germany. It’s a topic that is close to my heart. The more clients I help who have faced this issue, the more I realise how important it is to get this information out there.
Six ways to win over German bureaucrats
It’s taken me years, but I’ve finally unlocked the secrets to winning over German bureaucrats, and I’m here to share six of them with you.
Energy saving tips: How to reduce your gas and electricity bills in Germany
Saving energy is a big topic of discussion right now in Germany with the prices of gas and electricity going up by the day. Here are some of our energy-saving tips to lower your bills in the coming months and help the planet, too. This is also a space to share your own tips and tricks for saving energy – just leave a comment below with any ideas you have…and let’s all get through this together!
Merry Christmas from the Zollamt
As much as we love sending and receiving care packages, there’s nothing less “merry” than opening a package in front of the Zollamt worker containing those cute undies your mom just had to include with her homemade cookies (true story). Or having a Zollamt worker sniff the armpits of your items of clothing (also a true story). Pretty funny in retrospect – but the trip to the public office and sitting in the waiting room was annoying. Even worse is when you have to pay a tax to receive your package – whether it was a gift or you ordered it yourself. Luckily, there are ways to avoid this trip and give you more time for baking cookies and watching your favorite holiday films.
Here’s everything you or your loved ones need to know about the Zollamt and how to avoid your package ending up there.
Gifts from non-EU countries
are duty-free so long as the material value is under 45 euros. It must be clear that the package is from a private person to a private person (i.e. if there’s a business address or custom/commercial packaging they may be suspicious). There are, however, exemptions on specific items like alcoholic beverages, perfume and coffee, depending on the quantity.
If the gift is worth more than 45 euros but less than 700, a flat tax rate of 17.5 per cent will be applied and you’ll need to pay this before obtaining your package. Unless someone sent you over 45 euros of beer. In that case, there is a special beer tax (of course there is).
If you’re sending gifts outside the EU…
How much does every item weigh and how much is it worth? Yes, this is necessary. You’ll need to fill out a customs declaration, which they provide for you there, or you can fill one out before you go. If you’re unsure, don’t try to leave anything blank, they won’t accept it.
Lastly, just like for packages entering the EU, other countries have restrictions on what goods or what amount of goods enter the country. Have a look at this list to see if what applies to your package and its destination.
With that, good luck and may the holiday force be with you.
Berlin Rental Cap deemed unconstitutional
The Federal Constitutional Court declared the Berlin rent cap “unconstitutional” this morning at 9:30 a.m.… Read more
Flat searches in Berlin
Welcome to Berlin! Now that you’re here, you’ll need a place to hang your hat. It’s easier said than done.
A New Project for Brits in Germany: Converting your UK Driving Licence
The Brexit transition period ends on 31st December 2020. If you’ve decided to stay in Germany, now is a really good time to think about converting your UK driver’s license to a German one, but you’d really need to get into gear to manage it by the New Year!
IBB to check whether you really needed Soforthilfe II in Spring
The Investitionsbank Berlin will be asking all freelancers and small businesses who received Soforthilfe in the Spring whether they needed it or not. If they didn’t really need it or didn’t need all of it, they should pay some or all of it back.
Novemberhilfe grants for freelancers – what we know so far
Feeling the financial squeeze of Lockdown Light? Enter “November-Hilfe”, a flat-fee designed to compensate you for the revenue you lost this month. It’s not to be confused with Soforthilfe or Überbrückungshilfe. Red Tape Translation will take you through what it is, whether you’re eligible and how to apply.… Read more
ALGI vs. ALGII vs. Job Center vs. Job agency vs. dole vs. welfare
When you lose your job, you visit the Job Center, right? Seems logical. Except that when you get there, you’ll often get told to visit the job agency instead (Agentur für Arbeit). And when you get THERE, they tell you to visit the job agency on the other side of town! What the bloody hell is going on here? … Read more
The Künstlersozialkasse wants to check my income from the last 4 years
Ahhh, is that autumn in the air? Must be time for the Künstlersozialkasse’s random income audit! Every year in September, a handful of Künstlersozialkasse members get sent a special yellow letter. … Read more