Is Smart the right choice for you?

Register for the info-session

Find out if Smart is for you:

Great! If you’re temporarily working on a project abroad or occasionally do remote work abroad, Smart can post you as part of your employment and handle the A1 certificate for you.

The Smart Cooperative in Germany is geared towards people who have their habitual residence in Germany, and mainly work in Germany. If you live in another EU country, please look up the Smart office there. There are Smart offices in Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, and Spain.

Great! You can be employed by Smart.

You can only use Smart if you have a valid German residence permit that also allows employment with any employer. This is usually the case with the following residence permits: permanent residence (Niederlassungserlaubnis), residence document GB (for UK citizens who are beneficiaries of the Withdrawal Agreement), as a student, residence permit as a family member, Working Holiday or Youth Mobility Visa. If you have a residence permit for self-employment (§ 21 AufenthG, often called ‘freelance visa’) without the addition “Employment permitted” (“Beschäftigung/Erwerbstätigkeit erlaubt”), you are not eligible for a Smart membership and cannot use Smart.

Great! The cooperative can process freelance activities and commercial services that do not require a license. Most of our members work in the fields of business consulting, IT support, software development, education, social media and content management, public relations and creative fields. Services that require a chamber membership (e.g., crafts or architecture) as well as medical services (e.g., psychotherapy) cannot be handled via Smart.

Great! Smart even has its own subsidiary for educational services, the non-profit GmbH Smart Bildungswerk. The advantage of processing services via the Bildungswerk is that invoices for courses, lectures and workshops can be issued without VAT. Please note that this only applies to actual educational services aimed at vocational training and professional development in which specific knowledge is imparted. Courses or workshops that are in the leisure sector (i.e., yoga or courses for parents and children), as well as consulting services such as coaching cannot be handled VAT-free by the Bildungswerk. However, the processing of these courses is still possible via the cooperative, with added VAT.

Self-employed artists and publicists can be insured through the Künstlersozialkasse (KSK). Self-employed people insured through the KSK benefit from partially subsidized contributions to health and pension insurance. In this case, we recommend insurance through the KSK, because employees at Smart do not receive a subsidy. However, if you are only artistically active as a secondary activity or are insured through KSK and offer non-artistic services, it may make sense to handle these secondary activities via Smart.

The sale of goods via Smart is not possible. This also applies to the sale of electronic goods such as downloads or eBooks.

Great! Processing via Smart is possible, provided you can freely decide how, where and when you work for your customers, and you are not integrated into your customer’s company.

If you are integrated into your customer’s business and they decide how, when and where you work, your customers would have to hire you directly. For customers in Germany, Smart could also handle the employment in individual cases via temporary employment. We’re happy to provide further advise on this matter.

Nice! Smart can process orders in Germany and internationally and send invoices to companies worldwide. Invoices issued through Smart are subject to VAT. The VAT percentage (19% or 7%) depends on the service. Educational services processed through the Smart Bildungswerk can be exempted from VAT, if certain conditions are met. Within the EU, your customer must have a valid international VAT identification number, so that the invoice can be issued without VAT, according to the principle of reverse charge. Outside the EU, Smart invoices companies without VAT.

Cool! Depending on the activity, Smart will invoice for the service plus VAT (19% or 7%). Smart can also issue VAT-exempt invoices to private individuals via Smart Bildungswerk gGmbH. However, this only applies to actual educational services aimed at vocational training and in which special knowledge is imparted. Courses or workshops that are in the leisure sector (for example, yoga or courses for parents and children) as well as consulting services such as coaching cannot be handled VAT-free.

In this case, we must check carefully whether processing via Smart is possible.

Great! If your customers are in Germany or other EU countries and have signed our completed order form, Smart pays in advance: You can receive an average monthly salary from Smart in the preparation phase before you have started working on the project and before Smart has received payment from your customer. For employment that includes social security contributions, the average net amount invoiced by Smart per month must be at least 630 euros. There is no minimum amount for a Mini-Job.

You can become a member of the cooperative at any time. However, in order to start employment via Smart, you must have work orders first. To start an employment that includes social security contributions, you must be able to bring in at least one confirmed order of at least 630 euros net into the cooperative. There is no minimum amount for a Mini-Job.

Register for the Infosession!

Find out if Smart is the right choice for you


Date: July 18, 2024
Time: 16:00 bis 17:15 Uhr
Language: English
Available Spaces: 8 / 25


Date: July 25, 2024
Time: 11:00 bis 12:15 Uhr
Language: deutsch
Available Spaces: 16 / 25

Office and
Shipping Address

SMartDe eG – Genossenschaft für Selbständige
Wilhelmstr. 150

10963 Berlin

How to get
in touch

We are generally available by phone, email, or by appointment on-site between 9 AM and 4 PM.

+49 (0)30 2433 6740