ZM – The Zusammenfassende Meldung

One of the lesser known parts of the German tax system is simply called the “ZM”, which stands for “Zusammenfassende Meldung”.  For anyone running a business in Germany, it is another form to fill in on a regular basis.

It all has to do with the VAT (Value Added Tax) system within the European Union.  Put quite simply, if you buy something in a shop or pay for a service, then you pay VAT.  For consumers, that’s the end of the story.  The shop owner or service provider pays the VAT on to the tax office.

But if the customer is a business as well, they usually have a way to claim that tax back again from their local tax office (although there are some exceptions). [Read more…]

Leasing a car in Germany (and why you might want to)

Ford FocusMany companies in Germany who provide their employees with company cars do not actually buy the cars outright, instead they prefer to lease them and my company car is no exception.

By leasing the car, I pay a monthly fee to a leasing company, often a bank, who have purchased the vehicle from my usual dealer.  That fee allows me to drive the car up to an agreed number of kilometres each year.

And when the lease runs out, I just return the car to the dealer and can lease a new one.

Buy why not buy the car outright as a business and then sell it again later? [Read more…]

Blogging in Germany: Personal, Business or Journalist?

Hat with press card - ©Can Stock Photo Inc. / stocksnapperHave you ever considered at what point a blog stops being a personal one and starts being a business?  Or at which point the blogger becomes a writer, or even a journalist?

Quite apart from any internet marketing advice telling you to “treat your blog like a business”, in Germany the differences can have knock-on effects such as how much tax you pay.

Obviously, the first difference between a personal blog and a business site is the need for the Impressum, but a simple way of looking at it is that a personal blog does not make any money.  A business site does, regardless of whether the blog directly sells products, contains advertising or is simply connected to an existing business. [Read more…]

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