Make Money With Blogging: Tax Social Security Copyright

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When making money with blogging you also have to pay attention to legal matters: Do you have to pay taxes on income from blogs? What about social security? And what do blogging journalists have to keep in mind?

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisher, German Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.


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This entry contains content and information that may be out of date, eg due to legal or statistical changes. Because it can still be helpful to get an overview of the topic, you can still find it here.

Tips for bloggers from experts


As a blogger with a variety of sources of income, you can quickly sit between all chairs in terms of income tax, sales tax and social security. ME is because the legislation simply lags behind light years of the actual occupational reality of many people in this country and the Internet development.

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All the more I was glad that tax consultant Rüdiger Schaar has dealt with this topic in great detail in a really good guest post on, the blog of my colleague Ulrike Langer. For example, he also deals with the tax treatment of people who blog while working hard.

Schaar, who manages for Freischreiber, the professional association of freelance journalists, a hotline on all matters relating to the tax and the Künstlersozialkasse, also comments on the value added tax of social payment services.

Social Payments are VAT-based


According to the expert, their revenues, even if they are surrendered from abroad, are still subject to VAT in Germany, with 7%.

After yesterday, with Ulrike Langer, a brief, lively discussion at Twitter about sales from abroad, I was briefly a bit confused, as the now looks with advertising revenues, for example of Google Adsense or revenue via Paypal.

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Revenues from abroad are not equal to foreign revenues


After some research and reflection, I think I have found the solution to the puzzle - but I would like experts to teach me better and would then update this article accordingly:

If I understand correctly, this applies to the sales tax liability in Germany just for social payment services, because here, although the money ultimately comes from abroad, the performance - ie the writing of the text and the payment by the reader - but in Germany have occurred.

VAT Act §3


On the other hand, when it comes to advertising revenue, you provide your service to a company based abroad, which is why sales tax is also incurred there. Advertising is also listed in paragraph 4 of the sales tax law 3 as other services.

Other useful information I found on Meetinx. Although the article is already older, this situation has apparently remained the same. More information on new / old regulation of Umsatzsteuergestzes, unfortunately, without explicitly addressing the issue of advertising.

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At the very end of the contribution Schaar goes to a very different point: The trade tax liability, which arises in advertising - albeit starting from a net profit of 24.500 Euro a year.

social insurance


For advertising journalists, which are insured by the artists' social insurance fund, advertising income could be much more problematic in terms of social insurance law: Schaar writes: "If the (advertising) circulation via 4.800 makes euro profit in the year, the artist social security subsidy for 50 is canceled Health insurance. However, a subsidy to the statutory pension insurance remains. "

Although I would agree with the principle of logic, is on the website of the KSK something different: a business registration is namely for the compulsory insurance under the KSVG as little prerequisite, as it is a reason for exclusion. So maybe first ask KSK on a case-by-case basis and describe your own situation?

The cross with copyright!


In addition to taxes and social security, copyright can also cause problems. The idea of ​​making money with blogging is so popular because everyone can start with it: blog, write something interesting, build up reach (eg with Twitter) - done .. or something ... But that could happen soon change if those freedoms are restricted. There are already approaches to this.

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Maybe you know: clicked on YouTube a certain video, perhaps because foreign friends have made a Facebook on it - and then this: "This video is not available in their country". Reason: copyright claims. Well, you think, with a few videos that does not matter, there are still plenty of free offers on the net, just keep clicking.

Net neutrality in the discussion


Unfortunately, it might look different soon. For some weeks now, the topic of network neutrality is being actively discussed not only in Germany. In short, this means that all content / data packets are no longer being transported in the network at the same speed.

This could mean for readers in the end, that content in the end is no longer used to - how this can look in practice, has aptly described (and for the insiders: Yes, I have read the discussion about it whether it really is a true restriction of net neutrality, but it is a good example to demonstrate the effect.)

New evidence for an old debate


For the reader, this restriction of freedom is not nice, but for bloggers, it could mean even more: That namely, your own blog is much slower, readers and thus lost revenue. The net neutrality debate is not new - but lately there have been several attempts by network operators to restrict these, as outlines: The Spanish telephone company Telefonica, for example, announced its intention to ask content providers to pay.

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Telekom CEO René Oberman defended a differentiated pricing of data that are transmitted in the telecom network. And Google allegedly negotiated with US telecommunications provider Verizon for a preference for certain data in Verizon's networks for a fee.

Creeping changes


However, critics fear that the changes will not happen suddenly and unexpectedly, but will gradually creep in: there will be a charge for a data package here, then you pay extra for a service - until finally freely available content, as we know it today, of the past belong.

On the other hand, there has been resistance on the website of the Initiative Pro-Netzneutralität (Virtual Network Initiative). The fact that there are not even 10.000 signatures so far is presumably due to the fact that it has so far hardly been possible to find a broad public for this important but complex topic.

Twitter is the broadcasting media


Regulatory claims on Internet content, which is spread in blogs or at Twitter, however, there might also be from other side.

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The Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer had stated at the opening speech of the Munich Media Conference on Wednesday, Internet was broadcasting. Private broadcasting is regulated in Germany by the state media authorities. The managing director of the Bavarian State Media Authority BLM, Martin Gebrande, relativised the statement of the Prime Minister on Wednesday in a podium discussion to the effect that broadcasting is a linear medium that must be suggestive. Moreover, in Bavaria there would only be an obligation to provide information for radio-like online services such as Web radio or WebTV so far, if they would reach more than 500 users in their streams.

5.000 Euro for Twitter channel with more than 500 followers?


Munich-based Isarrunde has drawn the following conclusion from these statements: "Should the Bavarian State Government stay with the statement of Horst Seehofer and if one understands the statements of the BLM managing director, Martin Gebrande, correctly, then would have about a Twitter account with more than 500 Followers on Broadcasting. "On Twitterers with over 500 followers could then cost of 5.000.

In order to prevent this and gain legal certainty, the Isaround has registered its Twitter channel, and only this one, as a broadcast offer on the Internet. Michael Praetorius personally handed over the completed form from the BLM website to the managing director of the Bavarian state center for new media, Martin Gebrande, to display an internet broadcasting program. If the BML accepts the registration, the Isarrunde-Twitter must pay 5.000 Euro.

What's the point?


But not only: Such a decision would probably also affect all other Twitter channels. May we soon pay all 5.000 euros? For Praetorius, whom I asked exactly this question about the deep in a telephone call on Tuesday Sense the action is about more:

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"If the Landesmedienanstallt refuses the application, one can discuss its raison d'être as regulator. However, if you agree with the application, a Bavarian authority will be entitled to Twitter - and that's something you have to discuss in any case! "

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  1. Antonia Short

    Hello Mr. Schaar,

    what about the income taxation for sponsored products?
    If I use this for my post office, the use of a business output is similar. Since the product has been sent to me, it is also considered as an ingestion.
    Can I assume a zero gain in this case?

    Thank you,
    Best regards
    Antonia Short

  2. Alper Iseri

    Thanks for linking to my post. I've been collecting income from Google AdSense for several years now and have my complete tax declaration always done by a tax consultant. As far as I can judge that, nothing has changed significantly in the assessment of then.

    PS: It would be nice if you write meetinx instead of meetnix ;-)

    • Simone Janson

      Hello Mr. Iseri, thanks for the update and sorry for the prescriber - I have probably read too much Asterix ;-)

  3. Simone Janson

    Hello Mr. Schaar,
    Thank you very much for your explanatory remarks, which help us very much further. That explains a lot!
    Simone Janson

  4. Rüdiger Shaar

    Hello Mrs. Jansen, please allow me two brief remarks.

    The Flattr revenues are, in my opinion, sales taxable in Germany and also subject to VAT because the money is paid by the Flattr users and not by Flattr himself. Flattr only transfers the payments and acts as a "bank". As a rule, the users will be individuals resident in Germany or private individuals. To this extent, revenues are subject to VAT in Germany.

    In the case of advertising revenues of foreign entrepreneurs, however, the reverse charge procedure applies. This means that the VAT liability is transferred to the foreign-based entrepreneur and in this respect no sales tax is incurred in Germany.

    As a KSK insured, it is possible to achieve not only the artistic or, in this case, journalistic income, commercial income on a limited scale harmless. However, in the case of a profit from commercial business of more than 4.800 Euro, the contribution of the Social Insurance Fund to health insurance is not applicable. A subsidy to the pension insurance scheme is paid for as long as the commercial profit share is less than EUR 33.000,00.

    The case of a journalist, who mainly received income from the rental of advertising advertisements, was both negatively influenced by the Landessozialgericht and the Sozialgericht in the lower courts and the journalist was denied access to the KSK. Meanwhile, however, the revision was allowed before the Bundessozialgericht. It remains to be seen as far as the highest decision will be. At we will inform you immediately after the decision.

    Many greetings, Rüdiger Schaar

  5. Immo Wert gmbh

    Series - Making Money With Blogging: Income Tax, Sales Tax ...

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