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The most important documents

As a European subcontractor, you must be able to present various documents for cross-border activities. Here you will find all the information about the certificates and documents that every contractor from another European country who wants to work in Germany needs.

To be carried on the construction site:

Anyone working on a construction site in Germany must be able to show a valid ID and the A1-Bescheinigung (A1 certificate). You will be asked to inform your fitters accordingly in the work contract.

Required for all:

As a subcontractor, regardless of whether you are employed or self-employed, you must be able to present your business registration and exemption certificate in accordance with Section 48b EStG in addition to the A1 certificate. You will also need your VAT identificationnumber (VAT ID).

Additional obligation for subcontractors with employees:

If your employees work in Germany, you must submit a written registration to customs in accordance with § 18 AEntG. Customs will then forward a notification to the relevant social security fund(SOKA), which will then issue you with a corresponding certificate. In addition to this document, you must also be able to present a certificate of compliance with the Minimum Wage Act (Mindestlohngesetz MiLoG).

Note: A basic distinction is made between "companies with employees" and "solo self-employed persons". The protection of employees working on a construction site requires numerous certificates, whereas a solo self-employed person who is responsible for himself has to submit fewer certificates.

Anyone working on a construction site in Germany from a European country must have either an identity card or passport with them. This serves the purpose of identification and control .The identity document enables the German authorities to establish your identity and allows them to check your residence status and work permit.

The A1 certificate of posting (A1-Entsendebescheinigung) is a mandatory document! The A1 certificate is issued by the social insurance institutions in your home country and applies to all employees and self-employed persons who work across borders in Germany. It ensures that you are still subject to the social security laws of your home country and that you do not have to pay your social security contributions twice.

It is important to carry the A1 certificate with you from the first day of the assignment until the end of the assignment and to present it to the responsible authorities on request. In the short term, the application for an A1 certificate is sufficient for presentation.

The free movement of workers gives nationals of all EU member states the right to freely choose their place of employment within the EU. You therefore do not need an extra work permit.

To prove that the necessary requirements have been met in your case, you will have to show the business registration from your home country.

With an exemption certificate in accordance with § 48b EStG (Freistellungsbescheinigung gemäß § 48b EStG), you are entitled to issue invoices without VAT. You can obtain this from the tax office responsible for you in Germany.

In order for the client to accept the tax-free invoice, they also need a confirmation from the tax office in accordance with Section 13b UStG, which states that they may receive tax-free invoices from you.

The certificate of good standing from the health insurance company (Unbedenklichkeits­bescheinigung der Kranken­kasse) proves that you have no debts with the health insurance company in your home country . This certificate can only be applied for by the insured person themselves and is therefore only valid for them.

SOKA-BAU is the social insurance fund for the construction industry in Germany, which, among other things, secures vacation entitlements and company pensions for all employees. Registration with SOKA-BAU is always required if a subcontractor employs workers on a German construction site.

Important: As a solo self-employed person, you do not have to register with SOKA-BAU.

There are various social security funds for specific construction trades in Germany:

  • The SOKA-BAU for the main and ancillary building trades
  • The SOKA-DACH for the roofing trade
  • The SOKA-GERÜSTBAU for the scaffolding trade
  • The Malerkasse for the painting and varnishing trade
  • The Einzugsstelle Garten- und Landschaftsbau EWGaLA for gardening, landscaping and sports ground construction.

Additional information about BG BAU

The employers' liability insurance association for the construction industry (BG BAU) is the statutory accident insurance institution for construction companies and their employees in Germany. All companies in the construction industry must pay contributions, which are based on the type of activity, the risk of danger and the number of employees.

If youwork as a foreign subcontractorin Germanyfor longer than 24 months without interruption, you must also register with the BG BAU and pay contributions. As long as the 24 months have not yet been exceeded, there is no obligation to be a member of the BG BAU.

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