After you have completed and submitted the tax registration form (Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung), you first have to wait until the tax office (Finanzamt) sends you your tax number by mail. This may take between 6-8 weeks.
Many freelancers are now asking:
- Can I start working before I receive my tax number?
- Can I send the first invoices?
- Can I already deduct the first expenses related to my freelance work?
The straight answer to these questions is: yes. But there are a few things to consider.
Since you state your founding date in the tax registration form (Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung) and there generally is a founding date, income and expenses can also take place from this moment onwards.
That means, of course, you can start to work and provide services for your customers. You can then also send your first invoices. To do this, you must first state “N / A” or “to be assigned” on your preliminary invoice under tax number and then submit the tax number immediately after you have received it from the Finanzamt. Since an invoice without a tax number is not valid, you must send the corrected invoice to your customers after receiving your tax number.
But be careful, anyone who provides services to corporate customers in other EU countries should not do so before receiving their VAT ID. Since the reverse charge rule applies to services between companies within the EU, it is particularly important to inform the companies about this. If you know that you will do business with customers within the EU, the best thing to do is to apply for your VAT ID directly in the tax registration form (Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung).
If your invoice contains all the necessary information in the first step, you can correct it after receiving your tax number. This is done by creating a new invoice with the same content as your original invoice and adding your tax number. An important note that your new invoice should contain is: This invoice replaces the invoice with the invoice number (number of the original invoice) from (date of the original invoice). If you do not make use of the small business regulation and show VAT tax from the beginning, it should also contain the following sentence: It should be noted that only this invoice copy may be used for the purpose of tax deduction. You then send the new invoice to your customer as quickly as possible, he/she does not have to give the old one back to you.
Alternatively, you can simply create a correction document that contains the following information:
- your name and address
- the information that was missing on the original invoice (in this case your tax number)
- the invoice number of the original invoice
- the date of the original invoice
In addition, you can of course make your first expenses for your freelance work and deduct it directly from the tax. What should you be thinking about? At the beginning of your self-employment there is probably work equipment such as computers, devices and possible software that you use. In addition, there may be expenses for the office or costs for communication tools such as cell phones or internet. Read more about your possible expenses here and upload them to Sorted.
Sorted's tax guides only provide the self-employed with initial information on tax issues and do not claim to be complete. Sorted tax guides are provided without liability and do not replace a tax advisor. To get an accurate answer for your specific case, please consult a tax advisor. You can always ask one of our tax advisors on the Sorted platform.