Advice for Scottish artists planning to tour in Germany.


Performing artists who are EU citizens do not need a visa to work in Germany. There are however various tax issues to take into consideration.


Withholding Tax

German promoters are required to withhold a lump sum of tax from an artist’s earnings. Although the promoter is liable for the tax, it is the artist who owes it, so it is important to obtain official confirmation from the promoter that the tax has been paid.

If earnings do not exceed €250 per person per show the promoter does not need to withhold tax. This still applies on a per person basis for earnings as a group, so a 4 member band earning €1000 gross for a show, presuming equal distribution between members, would mean €250 gross per person and all four could claim the withholding tax exemption.

When tax does have to be withheld, there are two options:

1. Gross – 15% of gross earnings

A tax-free reimbursement of travel expenses can be claimed but no other expenses are deductible

2. Net – 30% of net earnings after expenses

The expenses must be proven income-related costs. The promoter withholding the tax has to verify the expenses with the German tax authorities or show they were reimbursed. Generally, if your expenses amount to more than half of your income, net taxation is preferable. If less than 50% then gross is preferable.


If you are VAT registered, note that you should not charge the promoter VAT on your earnings in Germany. The German promoter owes the VAT for your services (and if entitled to pre-tax deduction they can claim this back from the German Inland Revenue). You should make sure there is wording to this effect in your contract, making clear that the recipient of your services is liable to pay VAT.

National Insurance

When working in another EU country temporarily UK citizens should use an E101 form to prove that your social insurance is paid in your home country and does not need to be paid again in the country where you will be working.


European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is available from the health institution in your own country. The Card certifies that you are eligible for basic medical care and emergency assistance while on a temporary stay in another qualifying country. Some countries provide additional cover above this level on a reciprocal basis. You may need to pay for additional private medical insurance to ensure full cover while you are working abroad. The EHIC replaces the E111, E128 and some other health insurance related E forms. What you should also consider is that the right to obtain basic and emergency health treatment while you are abroad (with the European Health Insurance Card) may not be adequate cover for all eventualities. For this reason, many arts professionals who go to work abroad temporarily take out comprehensive medical insurance.

Comprehensive information on money matters artists in Germany can be found here