Current changes in the law

Current changes in the law

11.06.2017 - Abolition of EU visa requirements for Ukrainian citizens

Starting from June 11, 2017 Ukrainian citizens are exempted from EU short-stay visa requirements. Ukrainians who hold a biometric passport are now able to enter the EU without a visa for 90 days in any 180-day period, for tourism, familiy or business purposes. This does not entail any work permit! The visa exemption applies to all EU countries, except Ireland and the UK, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Information is available from the German Embassy in Kiev.

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01.01.2017 – State of Double Taxation Agreements

State of Double Taxation Agreements and other agreements with regard to taxation (between Germany and other states), January 1, 2017 – Information of the Bundesministeriums der Finanzen (Ministry of Finances)

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01.01.2017 - New standard rates for business trips abroad

From January 1, 2017 new standard rates for additional meal and accommodation allowances for business trips abroad apply. Travel expenses can be claimed for tax purposes, based on these standard rates. The related circular of the Federal Ministry of Finance with an overview of the rates can be found here.
Information on travel expenses and taxation is provided by touring artists here.
 

01.01.2017 - NEW STIPULATION OF FOREIGN PER DIEM AND TRAVEL ALLOWANCES

As of 1st January 2015, new rates for per diems and accommodation allowances for foreign travel apply. They can be found in the current administrative regulation “Allgemeine Verwaltungsvorschrift über die Neufestsetzung der Auslandstage- und Auslandübernachtungsgelder”: ARVVwV.
They apply in the context of publicly funded projects, which must be billed according to the Bundesreisekostengesetz (BRKG; English: German Travel Expenses Act).
More on the BRKG here.

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21.01.2016 - Entry to the USA: new rules for German citizens

New rules for the visa-free entry to the USA for German citizens apply. They limit, amongst other changes, the participation in the so-called Visa Waiver Program that simplifies entry formalities for travellers from specific countries, i.e. Germany. 

The health insurance fund Techniker Krankenkasse provides an overview on the new rules here (in German only).

More information by the Federal Foreign Office (in German only).

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01.01.2016 - New standard rates for business trips abroad

Since 1st January 2016 new standard rates for additional meal and accommodation allowances for business trips abroad apply. Travel expenses can be claimed for tax purposes, based on these standard rates. See the Information of the Federal Ministry of Finance here. (only in German available)

More on tax-deductible expenses when travelling here.

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01.01.2016 - NEW STIPULATION OF FOREIGN PER DIEM AND TRAVEL ALLOWANCES

Since 1st January 2015, new rates for per diems and accommodation allowances for foreign travel apply. They can be found in the current administrative regulation “Allgemeine Verwaltungsvorschrift über die Neufestsetzung der Auslandstage- und Auslandübernachtungsgelder”: ARVVwV.
They apply in the context of publicly funded projects, which must be billed according to the Bundesreisekostengesetz (BRKG; English: German Travel Expenses Act).
More on the BRKG here.

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01.01.2016 - New social security assessment ceilings for premiums

Starting from 1 January 2016, the assessment ceilings for premiums for the general retirement insurance (West) increased from EUR 6050 (in 2015) to EUR 6200 per month. The assessment ceilings for premiums for the general retirement insurance (East) increased from EUR EUR 5200 to Euro 5400. 
 
 In 2016, the limit for mandatory statutory health insurance increased to EUR 56 250 per year. If you have an income over this limit, you can join a private health insurance programme. 
Information (in German language)

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01.07.2015 - Freedom of movement for employees from Croatia

Starting from July 1st 2015 employees form Croatia gain unrestricted access to the German labor market. The two years transition period, since Croatia became an EU member, will come to an end. Information

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01.02.2015 - SOCIAL SECURITY AGREEMENT GERMANY - URUGUAY

On 1 February 2015 the Social Security Agreement between Germany and Uruguay came into effect. Within the area of social security it covers pension issues and secures and coordinates the legal relations between both states. The agreement makes sure that social protection is ensured during stays or periods of residence in the other contracting state (Information of the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs - in German language).

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01.01.2015 - India launches ‘Tourist Visa on Arrival’ Program

Travel to India got a little easier thanks to the so-called Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA) program for nationals from several countries, including Germany.
The 30-day visas are for the purpose of “recreation, sightseeing, short duration medical treatment, casual business visit, or casual visit to meet friends and relatives” only. Information

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01.01.2015 - New social security assessment ceilings for premiums

Starting from 1 January 2015, the assessment ceilings for premiums for the general retirement insurance (West) increased from EUR 5950 (in 2014) to EUR 6050 per month. The assessment ceilings for premiums for the general retirement insurance (East) increased from EUR EUR 5000 to Euro 5200. 
In 2015, the limit for mandatory statutory health insurance increased to EUR 54 900 per year. If you have an income over this limit, you can join a private health insurance programme. Federal Government information - in german language

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01.01.2015 - Taxation according to double taxation agreements

The revised circular of the BMF of 12 November 2014 on the taxation of fees according to double taxation agreements (IV B 2 – S 1300/08/10027) is executed starting from 1 January 2015. Information here

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01.01.2015 - Euro is official currency in Lithuania

Lithuania has joined the European Monetary Union on January 1st, 2015. Now the euro area encompasses 19 states and all three Baltic states are now using the euro as currency. European Commission

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01.01.2015 - NEW STIPULATION OF FOREIGN PER DIEM AND TRAVEL ALLOWANCES

Since 1st January 2015, new rates for per diems and accommodation allowances for foreign travel apply. They can be found in the current administrative regulation “Allgemeine Verwaltungsvorschrift über die Neufestsetzung der Auslandstage- und Auslandübernachtungsgelder”: ARVVwVAnlage_2015.
They apply in the context of publicly funded projects, which must be billed according to the Bundesreisekostengesetz (BRKG; English: German Travel Expenses Act).
More on the BRKG here.

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01.01.2015 - New standard rates for business trips abroad

Since 1st January 2015 new standard rates for additional meal and accommodation allowances for business trips abroad apply. Travel expenses can be claimed for tax purposes, based on these standard rates.
More on tax-deductible expenses when travelling here.

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28.04.2014 - Visa requirements abolished for citizens of Moldova

Since 28th April 2014, the Republic of Moldova has been transferred to the list of third countries whose nationals are exempt from visa requirements; the visa obligation for citizens of the Republic of Moldova who hold a biometric passport and want to travel to the Schengen zone for a short-stay is abolished. Since January 1st 2008, a visa facilitation agreement with the EU was in force; after the successful Visa Liberalisation Dialogue; European Parliament and European Council agreed on the abolition.  www.ec.europa.eu

read more

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07.02.2014 - Reduced VAT for self-employed stage and costume designers

Self employed stage and costume designers in Germany can now bill their freelance services at a VAT rate of 7 %; this was established in the common statement of the finance administrations of the federal government and the Länder dated 07. February 2014. The complete 19 % rate is only to be applied in exceptions. The decisive element for the VAT evaluation of self-employed stage and costume designers’ services is the contractual agreement and its actual realization. www.bundesfinanzministerium.de

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01.02.2014 - SEPA - electronic payments

Since February 1st 2014, all credit transfers and direct debits in euro will be made under the same format.  Payments in the Euro Area will significantly become easier. For the Single Euro Payments Area = SEPA, national formats of transfers like the bank account number will be altered into the standards of IBAN (International Bank Account Number) and BIC (Business Identifier Code). They can be used in the 28 EU-States, in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, as well as Monaco, Switzerland and San Marino. www.sepadeutschland.de and www.europeanpaymentscouncil.eu

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01.01.2014 - NEW REGULATIONS OF THE GERMAN TRAVEL EXPENSES ACT

Since January 1st 2014, simplified per diem calculations according to the Bundesreisekostengesetz (the German Travel Expense Act) apply. Now two different fixed rates are taken as basis instead of the three rates before: absences within Germany longer than 8 hrs are billed with 50 % of the per diem and from 24 hrs on with the full per diem. The simplification also applies for the per diems when travelling outside Germany: For stays longer than 8 hrs, 80 % of the full per diem apply, for 24 hrs the full per diem.    
Also some rates for per diems abroad and accommodation allowances have changed.  www.verwaltungsvorschriften-im-internet.de

read more

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01.01.2014 - Free movement of workers from Bulgaria and Romania in the EU

Since Januar 1st 2014, the special regulation for nationals of Bulgaria and Romania has ended. From the beginning of this year on they enjoy full freedom of movement of workers in other EU member states. www.europa.eu

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01.01.2014 - Contribution rate to Artists' Social Security Fund increased to 5.2 %

On January 1st 2014 the contribution rate to the German Artists' Social Security Fund for users was increased from 4.1% to 5.2%.

Enterprises on German territory like editing houses, theaters, advertising agencies, or museums, which are regularly engaging artists - the so called users - pay a contribution based on the remuneration. From the beginning of this year, this contribution has been increased by 1.1%. www. kuenstlersozialkasse.de

Read more on the contribution.

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01.01.2014 - Latvia adopted the euro as official currency

As 18th country of the altogether 28 EU member states, Latvia has joined the European Monetary Union on January 1st, 2014. The other member states using the euro as currency are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. www.ec.europa.eu

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01.08.2013 - E-Government Law

On August 1st 2013, the E-Government Law to advance electronic administration as well as to change additional regulations came into effect in Germany. The law’s objective is to ease electronic communication with the administration. E-government allows citizens and businesses to utilize administration services easily, quickly and independent of location and office hours by using electronic information technologies. This means: from an application to a notification, everything is done electronically. Electronic certifications can be presented online, identities can be guaranteed with an ID’s online function and secure De-Mail offers an electronic alternative to letters. Additional information and FAQs can be found on the German Federal Ministry of the Interior’s website www.bmi.bund.de.

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01.07.2013 - Croatia's EU accession

Since July 1st 2013 Croatia belongs to the European Union. Now the EU has 28 Member States. However, the accession to the EU is not automatically equivalent to the Schengen Agreement of the free movement of persons. Border controls between the Schengen States Hungary and Slovenia remain in control. For nationals of Croatia, temporary restrictions of the regulations on the freedom of movement for workers apply until June 30, 2015. More information at www.ec.europa.eu.

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01.07.2013 - VAT exemption for stage directors and choreographers in Germany

Since July 1st 2013 the German annual tax law is in force. It exempts stage directors and choreographers from value added tax starting from 1st July 2013 pursuant to § 4 Nr. 20-22b UStG (English: Value Added Tax Act) if they work at public theaters. The draft was first rejected by the Bundestag (English: German Federal Parliament) because of contentious points, but the exemption is now in force. 

Practically this means: The exemption accounts for revenues made after the 30th of June 2013. The date of the service provision/performance is determining (not the date of invoce nor the date of the receipt of money).

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