Invoices for freelancers

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What is the definition of a freelancer?

Worin liegt der Unterschied zwischen Freiberufler und Selbständigkeit

What is the difference with self-employment?

Basically, self-employment is the generic term for both. A freelancer is of course also someone who works independently. However, a freelancer does not have to register a business and therefore does not have to pay trade tax.

  • Nevertheless, he naturally reports to the tax office to accruing taxes properly.

Invoicing: with or without
tax number for freelancers?

A common misconception is that an invoice can be created without a tax number. We are happy to explain this.

Braucht ein Freiberufler eine Steuernummer?

Tax number for freelancers

The principle of any invoicing also applies here for freelancers:
a number identifying the tax is always a mandatory information on the invoice.
So whether a tax number or a tax ID or a sales tax identification number (if you have to pay sales tax) is listed does not matter. Only one of these three numbers must definitely be included.

  • In addition, a receipt for your service does not necessarily have to be called invoice. Equally common are, for example, the fee note or fee invoice.


  • no business registration – no business tax
  • Registration with Tax office
  • Income statement (German abbreviation: EÜR) is sufficient

Commercial enterprise

  • Business tax has to be paid
  • Registration in commercial register
  • is obliged to keep double-entry accounting

Exception rule: Small-amount invoice

Was ist der Unterschied zwischen einer Reklamation & Beschwerde

What is a small-amount invoice?

The only exception for invoices without indication of a tax number are invoice documents with a total amount of up to 250 euros.

The tax portion is already included here. In these special cases, it is permissible that you do not specify the tax number, tax ID or VAT ID. The applicable mandatory information for small-value invoices:

  • The full name and address of the company (billing address)

  • Complete name and address of the customer

  • Invoice date

  • Scope and type of service

  • Charge, sales tax, tax rate and any
    references to a tax exemption.

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Invoice retention periods

Gelten Aufbewahrungsfristen für Freiberufler

Do freelancers have the same retention periods?

Yes, there is no difference here from other bills.
The invoices or fee notes of freelancers are also subject to the statutory retention period of 10 years.

In addition, you should make sure that all the mandatory details of an invoice are listed so that the tax office recognizes your documents without any problems. Read more here:

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