Is a website a Freiberuf or a Gewerbe?

​Should you register a website that generates income as a Freiberufler, or as a Gewerbe?

This depends on how the website makes money, but it's usually a Gewerbe.

Commercial websites

Websites that are part of your business

If your website is part of your business, you don't need to register it separately. If you are a freelancer and use your website to promote your services, you don't need to register it as a separate business. If your business has an online shop, you don't need to register it as a separate business.

Websites that are a standalone business

If your website is a standalone business, and you make money by selling ads, referrals or products, then you should register it as a trade (Gewerbe)1, obtain a trade licence (Gewerbeschein) and declare it to the Finanzamt by filling the Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung.

For example, if you start making money by placing ads or affiliate links on your blogs, you need to register it as a Gewerbe.

Non-commercial websites

If your website is not used for any commercial activity, then you don't need to declare it as a business. For example, you don't need to register your personal blog or hobby project as a business, as long as you don't make money with it.

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