Liberal professions

The liberal professions include specialised services.

The Income Tax Act is decisive for determining whether a profession is regarded as being liberal or not.
(This link leads to a range of information that is only available in German)

The act is subdivided into different categories:

Liberal professions listed by the Income Tax Act

Four occupational groups come under this category:

  1. Health care professions: Doctors, dentists, veterinarians, medical practitioners, physiotherapists, midwives, massage therapists and qualified psychologists.
  2. Legal, tax and business consultancy professions: Solicitors, patent lawyers, notaries, auditors, tax consultants, tax agents, advisory general and business economists and chartered accountants.
  3. Scientific and technical professions: Surveyors, commercial chemists, architects, pilots and experts.
  4. Cultural occupations: Journalists, press photographers, interpreters, translators, scientists, artists, writers, teachers and child care workers.
Liberal professions similar to those listed by the Income Tax Act

The job profile of these professions is largely similar to the liberal professions listed by the Income Tax Act; they require specialised training. These include, for example, occupational therapists, conductors, photo designers masseurs, riding instructors, actors, copywriters or fashion designers. Usually, it is decided by the revenue office on a case-by-case basis whether a job profile meets the requirements of the liberal professions.

Vocational professions

By this category, the development of new areas of activity is taken into account. Scientific, artistic, literary, teaching and educational activities can be recognised as liberal professions in individual cases.

If your intended occupation is a liberal profession, you need not register it as a trade. Therefore, you should check in advance for the presence of such a profession. For more information about the specification of liberal professions in trade, please visit the website of Bundesverband der Freien Berufe e.V. (Federal Association of Liberal Professions).
(This link leads to a range of information that is only available in German)

Special features of liberal professions

  • Registration of the freelance work at the revenue office
  • No registration of trade required
  • No trade tax
  • Statement on excess of receipt over expenses possible/double-entry bookkeeping not necessary
  • Possibility of, among others, a partnership