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Artist Social Security

Users Duties

Amongst the enterprises that typically exploit artistic or journalistic works or performances are theatres, concert promoters and agencies organizing guest performances as well as other businesses whose basic object consists of staging artistic or journalistic works or performances (e.g. publishing houses, theatres, radio stations and television studios, manufacturers of audio/audiovisual media, music schools).

The artist’s social security system has been conceived as a two-stage system. The KSK sends a questionnaire in order to check whether a levy obligation exists. Once the questionnaire has been completed, the enterprise receives a confirmation decision concerning the inclusion in principle in the group of persons liable to pay the tax as defined in KSVG. Here, the question concerns the liability to pay the tax on its merits. The actual amount payable, the levy liability, is determined by the KSK, provided the corresponding prerequisites have been satisfied, immediately afterwards in a separate settlement decision only when the notification has been submitted by the company in question.



The business liable to pay the levy must keep running records of the amounts paid in remuneration during a calendar year and for each calendar year, it is obliged to communicate the sums paid in remuneration to artists during the preceding calendar year to the KSK on its report forms up to 31 March of the following year. The business must make monthly advance payments of 1/12 of the amount owing in artist’s social security tax for the preceding calendar year.

In practice, agreements are often reached in which the parties (e.g. the organizers of a tour acting as the artist’s contractual partner and local organizers) attempt to shift the obligation to pay the artist’s social security levy onto their contractual partners. Such agreements are lawful although they are only effective between the parties. The KSK itself is not bound by such agreements and is entitled to demand this levy notwithstanding any agreements concluded between the contracting parties from the entity liable to pay the levy and as a rule does so. However, agreements under which an organizer shifts the levy obligation onto the artist are invalid under German law.



The confirmation decision and decision to set the amount payable together with other decisions taken by the KSK are subject to examination by the courts dealing with social security and related matters (Social Court, Higher Social Court, Federal Social Court).
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