A spectre of terror is haunting the bavarian music associations. There are "contributions to the artists' social insurance fund". After two communities in other counties, sand (county of habberge) and buckenhofen (county of forchheim), have been hit hard, the boards of honorary music associations are in grave concern. Sand has to pay 9500 euros, buckenhofen around 20,000 euros in arrears.
"That is the death sentence for a club", says the board member of an association in the district of kitzingen. It is not known who will be hit next. The assessment of whether and how many levies clubs that pay fees for music teachers have to pay is opaque. This executive, who did not want to be named, knows of associations that are currently in pending proceedings.
"We want to have this exactly regulated", says manfred landner, president of the north bavarian music federation. "We don't want the voluntary music associations to be treated like an employer."
Until now, the following rule applied: only if music clubs taught more than 60 schoolchildren were they liable for the levy. A new ruling in the field of the social security fund for artists puts voluntary music associations on an equal footing with commercial music schools. They have to pay social security contributions for their teachers, just like any other employer.
Report to the legal department
Recently, the kunstlersozialkasse commissioned the german pension insurance fund to collect social security contributions. The north bavarian music association immediately put itself in front of the clubs, which are currently holding back in their public presentation so as not to attract attention. When music clubs receive a visit from pension insurance employees, a report is immediately sent to the legal department of the north bavarian music association. There, the management clearly demands that the musical training of young people be made tax-free, if the young people are to play at future performances of their own association.
In eibelstadt, the kick-off for a broad-based signature collection took place recently. As manfred landner reports, the list is to be sent to the german bundestag together with a petition after the summer break. The association demands a decision by parliament to exempt volunteer, non-profit music associations and choruses from the obligation to pay social security contributions for the arts. Landner: "politicians always praise the honorary office. Now you can do something about it." The association wants an end to the uncertainty and anxious deliberations.
Not all music clubs in the district are trembling. For example, the music and choral society of wiesentheid. Its chairman, wolfgang lurati, reports that conductor edgar roske is registered as a 400-euro employee with the knappschaft bahn-see and that the legally stipulated percentage of contributions is paid to the kunstlersozialkasse.
The education of the children has been taken over by the local singing and music school steigerwald. This preserved system lets the people of wiesentheide sleep peacefully. "Nothing was allowed to happen if we did everything right", says wolfgang lurati on the subject of payment arrears.
In addition to the threat of additional levies, another sword of damocles hangs over the honorary music associations. The special contracts with the collecting society gema will soon expire. Here, too, the associations and boards are negotiating. You demand a freeze of the fees or special tariffs for voluntary, non-profit associations and similar institutions.
"What has been preserved should be preserved", says the board member from the district of kitzingen. The social benefits of music clubs should not be underestimated: "they fulfill an important function, because they contribute to the social integration of children and young people."
The artists' social insurance fund
the social insurance fund for artists (KSK) is not a provider of benefits, but subsidizes its members' contributions to a health insurance fund of their choice, as well as to statutory pension and nursing care insurance. The background to this demand is that artists and journalists usually have less social security than other self-employed people. Artists and journalists pay half of their contributions out of their own pockets; the KSK tops up the contributions with a federal subsidy (20 percent) and social security contributions from companies (30 percent) that exploit the arts and journalism.