As a student, you also have the option to be self-employed (fee basis). International students with a residence permit according to § 16 AufenthG are not entitled to this!

It is differentiated between

As the wage is paid gross, taxes and social security contributions are possibly due later. Self-employed persons have to take care of that themselves.

The following taxes and social security contributions are relevant for traders and freelancers:


  • Income tax: If you are single and gain a profit less than the basic tax allowance (2017: 8820 euros), you do not have to pay income tax. You are obliged to income tax assessment, though (see wage tax).
  • Sales tax is due when more than 17,500 euros sales have been gained in the year before and more than 50,000 euros sales are to be expected in the current year. As you as a student generally work part-time and will probably not earn much, you can be excempted from obligation to sales tax by the status of ’small businessman’.
  • Trade tax is only due if the yearly allowance of 25,000 euros gain is exceeded. Freelancers do not have to pay a trade tax.


Social security contributions

  • Health insurance: Insofar as the conditions for the family or the student heaalth insurance do not apply, you have to have a health insurance of your own. Mind: the income limit in regard to family insurance is 435 euros (as of: 2018). Only in case of an income from marginal employment the limit is 450 euros.
  • It must be considered that students with a student health insurance may only bee self-employed in part-time, i.e. that the weekly workload must not exceed 20 hours (compare health insurance).

Pension insurance: For some kinds of self-employed work, there is a statutory pension obligation (e.g. when giving private lessons on a fee basis). However, firstly the marginal earnings limit of 450 euros must be exceeded here, too.

You will get further information at the German Pension Insurance.