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Artist Social Security

Assessment basis

The assessment basis for the levies are all the amounts paid in remuneration in any given calendar year to self-employed artists and publicists for artistic or journalistic performances or works. According to section 25, paragraph 2, sentence 1 KSVG remuneration is defined as what the entrepreneur must pay in order to receive or use the artistic work or performance. Remuneration also includes any expenses and ancillary costs for which the artist is reimbursed. The assessment basis also includes any remuneration for artistic output that the debtor – e.g. the organizer – pays to third parties for the account of the artist. These payments to third parties occur for example if the organizer liable to pay the levy receives payments from the artist owing to third parties (e.g. commission or taxes owed in Germany).

The only items not included in the assessment basis are the self-employed artist’s value-added tax liability indicated separately on an invoice and payments to (and from) collecting societies as well as in principle payments to legal entities governed by private or public law since such entities are not ‘self-employed artists’.



Travel, accommodation and subsistence costs for which the artist is reimbursed are not included in the assessment basis if they do not exceed the (narrow) margins of the exemption limits set out in the German Income Tax Act. If travel or hotel costs are borne by the user and directly paid to a third party (e.g. airline company, hotel) then they are not regarded as remuneration paid to the artist and are therefore not included in the assessment basis.

Any sums paid in remuneration to artists (employees) employed in a dependent employment relationship are likewise not included in the assessment basis. Only reference to German law is made when it comes to deciding whether an artist is working in a dependent employment relationship or is self-employed. Above all, this evaluation does not solely depend on the wording of the contracts; rather the definitive criterion is examination of the actual circumstances. The existence of a dependent employment relationship should as a rule be assumed if the artist in question receives instructions from the contractual partner and is integrated in its organizational operations.




As has been already been mentioned above, the liability to pay the levy does not in principle depend on whether the artist in question is insured under KSVG or not.
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