Payment of social security contributions for artists
All companies which use artistic and journalistic services must pay social security contributions for artists to the social security fund.
Recognised charitable status under tax law does not change this obligation.
As an example, companies can be:
- private companies and businesses
- corporations and institutions under public law
- other groups of persons
In accordance with the German Social Security for Artists Law (Künstlersozialversicherungsgesetz),
- an artist is a person who produces, performs or teaches music or performing or visual arts.
- Publicists are those persons who work in the publishing industry as authors or journalists, who work in similar ways or who teach journalism.
In addition, you must pay social security contributions in the following cases:
You advertise or operate public relations work for your own company.
This applies in cases which you issue orders to self-employed artists or journalists not only occasionally.
You are a self-employed artist or publicist and use the artistic or journalistic works of others.
Therefore, it is possible that you have, at the same time,
- an entitlement to benefits of the German Social Security for Artists Law (Künstlersozialversicherungsgesetz)
- and therefore you pay social security contributions for artists.
Further information concerning membership of the Social Security Scheme for Artists (KSK) can be found in the corresponding procedural description.
the artists’ social welfare fund (Künstlersozialkasse - KSK)
You regularly make use of services of self-employed artists or journalists.
The liability for social insurance contributions does not require that the self-employed artist or journalist himself or herself be obliged to be insured under the German Social Security for Artists Law (Künstlersozialversicherungsgesetz).
Please note: The word “regular” means
- For salary payments up to 31.12.2014, that you issue a corresponding order once per year on a regular basis.
- For salary payments from 01.01.2015, that the total sum of all paid remunerations in a calendar year does not exceed 450 EUR.
You must register with the KSK.
Please use the "data entry form for checking of the liability for social security contributions and the amount to be paid in accordance with the German Social Security for Artists Law - Künstlersozialversicherungsgesetz". Should the KSK have already notified you of a contribution number, use the "reporting form for the fee notification for bodies which are obliged to pay social security contributions for artists".
Note: Please do not forget to quote your contribution number, should you already be registered with the KSK.
Both forms can be obtained from the KSK Internet pages. The data entry and reporting forms must be sent to the KSK in writing or you can use the online reporting procedure.
Following receipt of your details, the KSK will check as to whether you are obliged to pay contributions. Should you be obliged to pay contributions, the KSK will calculate the contributions for artists. The remuneration paid by you forms the basis for this. The amount of contributions is set annually by the Social Security Payments for Artists Ordinance (Künstlersozialabgabe-Verordnung).
Remuneration is defined as follows:
- Payments to self-employed artists or journalists for artistic or journalistic services
- Payments to artists and journalists who are active as tradespersons, sole traders or partnerships (for example GbR or OHG).
Payments to legal persons (for example GmbH) are not classed as remuneration.
Payments in respect of which contributions must be made are:
- licences and
- all expenses (for example telephone costs) and ancillary expenditure (for example materials) which you pay to the artist or journalist.
You will receive a separate notice. Should you have to pay the amounts monthly in advance, this will be stated in your notice.
Reporting to the KSK of remuneration paid: by 31 March of the following year at the latest
- Should your company be entered in the business, commercial or association register: Proof of entry (for example copy of an extract from the business, commercial or association register)
- Should you register your association with the KSK: Copy of the association constitution
- Should you have de-registered your company in the meantime or should it have been deleted: Proof of the termination (for example a copy of the confirmation of de-registration)
The KSK provides various information on its Internet pages for downloading.
As an organisation which is obliged to pay contributions, you must maintain ongoing records concerning the remuneration which is subject to payment of social security contributions for artists. You must retain these records for at least five years following expiry of the calendar year in which the remuneration became due.
The German original version of this text was drafted in close cooperation with the relevant departments. The Deutsche Rentenversicherung Baden-Württemberg released it on 28.10.2019. Only the German text is legally binding. The Federal State does not assume any liability for the translated texts.
In cases of doubt or if you have any questions or problems, please contact the relevant authorities directly.