8 Key Tax Deadlines For Freelancers in Germany [Update 2024]


Deadlines and due dates can get easily lost in a hectic freelance life. Knowing when and how to manage them can be the difference between achieving your desired results or falling short of them. This article will provide an overview of the most important due dates and tax deadlines for freelancers working in Germany, which will help you stay on track and keep your projects running smoothly.

Registration of self-employment as a freelancer

If you wish to freelance in Germany, you must register your self-employment with the relevant tax office no later than a month after you begin. To do so, you must submit an informal letter containing the following information.

  • Name
  • Address
  • Contact details (telephone number, e-mail address)
  • Date on which the self-employed activity is started
  • Description of the activity carried out
  • Tax identification number

Advance VAT return (Umsatzsteuervoranmeldung, UstVA)

In Germany, freelancers who charge VAT to their clients must periodically submit their incoming and outgoing VAT to the tax office – every month, every quarter or once a year. The general deadline for submitting the monthly advance VAT return is the 10th day of the following month.

Exceptions to this rule are:

– Freelancers who registered within the small business regulation (Kleinunternehmerregelung);

– Freelancers who belong to specific professional categories like doctors, physiotherapists, dentists, lawyers, consultants, insurance brokers, etc.;

– Freelancers who paid up to 1,000 euros VAT don’t need to submit an advance VAT return – in this case an annual VAT return is sufficient (deadline: 31st of July of the following year).

As a rule of thumb, the higher the turnover tax you have to pay, the more often you have to submit it in advance:

  1. If you generate more than 7,500 euros in VAT: monthly advance VAT return.
  2. Those generating between 1,000 – 7,500 euros VAT: quarterly advance VAT return.

ℹ️ The following dates for the advance VAT returns apply for 2024:

Monthly advance VAT return:

  • 10 January 2024
  • 12 February 2024
  • 10 March 2024
  • 10 April 2024
  • 10 May 2024
  • 10 June 2024
  • 10 July 2024
  • 12 August 2024
  • 10 September 2024
  • 10 October 2024
  • 11 November 2024
  • 10 December 2024

Quarterly advance VAT return:

  • 10 January 2024for the 4th quarter 2023
  • 10 April 2024 for the 1st quarter 2024
  • 10 July 2024 for the 2nd quarter 2024
  • 10 October 2024 for the 3rd quarter 2024
  • 10 January 2024 for the 4th quarter 2024

Income tax return (Einkommensteuererklärung)

In Germany, freelancers must declare their previous year’s income and file an income tax return. The deadline is usually the 31st July of the following year. If the income tax return is prepared by a tax advisor, the submission deadline is extended by seven months (last day in February of the following year).  

ℹ️ The deadline for the income tax return for the taxation period 2023 has been extended. The submission deadline has been extended by two months to 2nd September 2024. If the return is submitted by the tax advisor, the deadline is extended to the 2nd June 2025.

Advance income tax payments (Einkommensteuervorauszahlungen)

Freelancers working in Germany pay their income tax as advance payments – generally due quarterly. The prepayments are due on the 10th of the third, sixth, ninth and twelfth month of each calendar year.

For 2024, the following deadlines apply for advance income tax payments:

  • March 10th
  • June 10th
  • September 10th
  • December 10th

Once the income tax return has been submitted and the tax office has calculated the amount of tax due, it is possible that you’ll get a refund.

Registration of self-employment as a trade (Gewerbeanmeldung)

In Germany, a trade (commercial activity) can only be operated with the necessary trade licence. This means that a trade must generally be registered with the competent trade office before starting self-employment. A later registration can lead to severe fines. 

It is always advisable to obtain information from the competent trade office before starting self-employment. Registration can usually be done in person, by telephone or online via the ELSTER portal

The following documents are usually required for a trade registration:

  • Identity card or passport
  • Proof of suitable business premises
  • Proof of sufficient liability insurance
  • Proof of any professional qualifications required
  • Other documents may be required depending on the federal state and business sector

It is also important to note that, depending on the trade, an official permit or registration with other institutions, such as the tax office, may be necessary.

Trade tax return (Gewerbesteuererklärung)

Self-employed people registered as a trade must submit an annual trade tax return. The trade tax is paid to the municipality. As a rule, the deadline for submitting the trade tax return is the 31st July of the following year.

The business tax return for the year 2023 is therefore due on 31st July 2024. If you submit your trade tax return through a tax advisor, the deadline is extended by seven months, to 28th February 2025.

Advanced trade tax payments (Gewerbesteuervorauszahlungen)

In Germany, advance trade tax payments are generally due quarterly, one month before the advance income tax payments.

For 2024, the due dates for advance trade tax payments are as follows:

  • February 15th 
  • May 15th 
  • August 15th 
  • November 15th

Social security contributions for salaried employees

If your freelance business has boomed and you have some employees, you must pay their social security contributions by the third last bank working day of the month in which the salary was paid. This payment is usually due on a monthly basis.

You can choose to pay your contributions quarterly or annually. If you opt for quarterly or annual billing, the payments will be due quarterly or annually, respectively.


As a freelancer, there are not many mandatory deadlines to remember. Most of them recur periodically, so you can save them in your calendar. However, it is important to double-check the dates for accuracy and to make sure that none of them fall on weekends or public holidays. We also suggest that you keep your eyes open for updates from the tax office in terms of deadlines and timeliness.

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Stefania Volpe

Stefania joined the international team at freelancermap in 2020. She loves marketing, the digital world, foreign languages and meeting different cultures. She moved from Italy to Germany thanks to an exchange program at the university and worked as marketing manager for several startups. Now she focuses on helping freelancers and IT professionals to find jobs and clients worldwide at www.freelancermap.com.

By Stefania Volpe

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