Tangentially related. I ask ebecause I know in general freelance work is not taxed, so does youtube income count as freelance income?

Related, and also this

  • 1
    In the U.S.: it is my impression that freelance income is taxed just as any other earned income. Jun 22, 2023 at 18:22
  • @paulgarrett - indeed, any income needs to be reported. Being 'freelance' does not magically make it not be income.
    – Jon Custer
    Jun 22, 2023 at 18:34
  • It is likely that monetizing Youtube videos would be a commercial activity, just like showing ads on a website. This would require registering a business (Gewerbe, not the tax-advantaged Freiberuf!). For example, one might register as a sole proprietor (Einzelunternehmer). But in any case, that is taxable income. There is no tax exemption for "freelance income".
    – amon
    Jun 22, 2023 at 19:01
  • 1
    "I know in general freelance work is not taxed". In UK 'freelance' means 'self-employed' which requires accounts to be submitted to HMRC and tax on the income (less allowable expenditure) to be paid. All income is taxable apart from specific exemptions. The bottom line usually is that you must keep accounts. Apart from the legal requirement, without them you don't have a leg to stand on when examined. Jun 22, 2023 at 19:33
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    "I know in general freelance work is not taxed" what? In which parallel universe would that be? What would keep every single person in Germany to quit their job and be rehired as a freelancer, if that means there are no taxes?
    – nvoigt
    Jun 22, 2023 at 21:29

2 Answers 2


Freelance work is taxed in Germany, § 2 Ⅰ 1 No. 3 EStG. What is not taxed is income from a hobby, if the income is occasional and if making money is not the primary goal of the hobby. So the question has to be answered on a case by case basis.

The question arises often enough that the German Federal Ministry of Finance has published a PDF document with guidelines: "I am Influencer. Do I have to pay taxes" (German).

It lists the kind of taxes that might apply (Einkommenssteuer, Gewerbesteuer Umsatzsteuer - Income tax, trade tax and VAT).

You never pay income tax if your total (e.g. from all activities, not just the youtube stuff) yearly income is below the tax exempt allowance, § 32a Ⅰ 2 No. 1 EStG.

You have to pay trade tax if you make more than 24 500 Euro per year, § 11 Ⅰ 3 No. 1 GewStG.

If you work on youtube or other social media with the goal of making money ("Gewinnerzielungsabsicht") you have to do a "Umsatzsteuervoranmeldung" (VAT declaration). That is, if you write invoices to your sponsors, you charge them VAT, which however does not belong to you - you collect it and pass it on to the state. If you buy stuff for your social media work, you can deduct the VAT you pay for that from the sum you pass on. Note that you have to do the declaration even if you do not actually owe anything.

If making money is not your primary goal, and the revenue is small and irregular, then you do not need to pay taxes on your social media income. However there is no fixed amount that constitutes "small" income, that depends to some extent on your tax office (also if you do not pay taxes for it, you cannot deduct business cost from tax bill). As mentioned in a comment, monetizing your videos via ad views would be almost certainly considered a Gewinnerzielungsabsicht (since the idea is making a regular income), getting a bit of free stuff in return for a video not necessarily.

This is not legal advice, but personally I would not bother to report a few hundred that I make on the side over the year, especially if I get the money in non consecutive months (but then in my case a few hundred would not make a difference in any case). But if your income is high (thousands rather than hundreds) or regular (e.g. monthly for most of the year) you need to declare it on your taxes.

  • "k, you can deduct the VAT you pay for that from the sum you pass on." could you explain this
    – Babu
    Oct 31, 2023 at 10:34

I know in general freelance work is not taxed

Your “knowledge” is wrong.

In general, all income is taxed.

Some jurisdictions may exempt certain income derived from hobbies that are not businesses but this is by no means universal.

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