In principle, you are self-employed if you practice one of the following professions but are not employed in a company:
- Doctor, veterinarian, dentist, lawyer, tax consultant, notary, engineer, architect, interpreter (these professions are also called "catalogue professions"/"Katalogberufe".)
- Teacher, lecturer, journalist, musician, author, designer, artist, as well as other scientific, literary, artistic or education-related professions (these occupations are also called "Tätigkeitsberufe" or "Activity Professions".)
- designers, structural engineers, photographers, graphic artists or similar technical or creative professions (these professions are referred to as "Ähnliche Berufe" or "similar occupations".)
The tax office can tell you whether you are considered to be self-employed ("Freiberufler") or not when you register there. If you are not sure whether you are self-employed, just ask the staff at your local Tax Office directly- they will help you with the accurate classification. On Behördenwegweiser, you can find the Tax Office responsible for you. Just select "Finanzamt" on the left and enter your postal code on the right to see the result.
Please note: If you mistakenly sign up as self-employed while having a business venture ("Gewerbe"), you will have to pay arrears of the business tax. You can learn more about business tax in our chapter "Starting up a Registered Business ("Gewerbe")".