Services & Costs – Frequently Asked Questions

How does it work for my clients?

In the first step, we suggest you send an e-mail to your clients informing them that Smart is working on your behalf. Before Smart can invoice your client, you have to prepare an order form that includes details on your contract, signed by you and your client. Smart sends the invoice to your client, and your client pays the invoice amount to Smart’s bank account. Please note that Smart must include value-added tax (VAT) on most invoices.

I have clients in other countries. How does that work?

Smart can send invoices worldwide and has an international value-added tax (VAT) number. For business clients in countries that have a reverse-charge agreement with Germany, it may be possible to exclude VAT.

Does Smart offer health insurance?

No, Smart is not a health insurance provider. But you automatically obtain public health insurance from any public health insurance provider through a Smart employment contract. You can choose your preferred insurer.

Can Smart complete my tax return?

No, Smart does not offer accounting or tax advice. For members on employment contracts, Smart automatically deducts income tax and pays it to the Finanzamt. If all of your income is processed by Smart, it may not be necessary to submit a tax return.

What is the agreement between Smart and my clients?

Before Smart can send an invoice, you have to prepare an “order form”, signed by you and your client. It includes the client details, project name and activity period, and confirmation that Smart will handle the payments. After validating the order form, Smart creates an invoice containing the information in the order form and sends the invoice to your client.

Can Smart help me find clients?

No. However within the Smart members community, through events and our Facebook group, it’s possible to network with other members and exchange opportunities.

What does the non-profit association SMartDe – Netzwerk für Kreative e. V. offer?

The association runs the touring artists help desk service, which advises artists and creatives working on cross-border projects. A free consultation appointment can be requested at beratung (at) This is available for both members and non-members. The touring artists help desk service is a collaboration project with the International Association of Art (IGBK), and the International Theatre Institute (ITI), the German Dance Association (Dachverband Tanz) and is funded by the German Federal Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

Does Smart offer funding?

No, Smart does not offer funding.

Can Smart process payments for publicly funded projects?

Some publicly funded projects can be handled by Smart, depending on their funding conditions. It is important to first talk with Smart about handling publicly funded projects before submitting any application.

What does it mean to be a cooperative member?

You are a part of a shared enterprise. As an employed member you have duties towards the cooperative: acquisition of orders and the proper execution of orders. Being a member of the cooperative (employed or not employed) means having the right to vote at Smart’s General Assembly, which is held at least once a year. Each member receives one vote, no matter how many shares they hold. Votes are taken on decisions such as the distribution of profits and losses, approval of the board of directors and supervisory board, and the election of supervisory board members. The cooperative statutes (in German) can be found here.

Can I buy more than one cooperative share?

Yes, it’s possible to buy more than one €50 cooperative share to support the cooperative financially. By buying several shares you can support the development of the cooperative. However, holding more shares does not give any individual member more than one vote at the General Assembly. The cooperative statutes state that every member has one vote, no matter how many shares they hold.

Can I leave the cooperative?

Yes. The cooperative can buy back shares. The share value will be determined at the end of the financial year. The process of share repurchasing can take at least two years.