Germany:

DE - Who needs to register a business?

DE - Who needs to register a business?

The commencement of or a change in a (fixed location) business has to be notified to the responsible department. The same applies to a branch office or a dependent local office. It is recommended to discuss your plans in good time (eg. with your tax consultant, Points of Single Contact or Chamber of Commerce and Industry). An overview of the Single Points of Contacts in Germany can be found here:

iXPOS – Points of Single Contact

In the case of retail trade, it is duty of the sole traders to register the business, in the case of partnership (Personengesellschaften) (e.g. OHG, BGB-Gesellschaft) the duty of all partners with managing authority and in the case of corporations (e.g. GmbH, AG) the duty of the legal representative.

DE - What a trade means?

DE - What a trade means?

A trade means every activity which you perform in self-employment, for your own account, in your own name and on a permanent basis. It does not depend on your actually making a profit; however the intention has to be there. To be able to have your activity classified as a trade, it has to be socially acceptable. "Clairvoyance" for example is not included.

Furthermore there are additional activities which are not part of a trade. These include in particular professions (such as doctors, legal profession or tax consultants) and other activities which require higher education. Primary productions (e.g. agriculture and forestry, fishing) and scientific consulting are not trades. Likewise, the management of one’s own assets normally is not a trade.

Some business operations require a license. Others are subject to an inspection requirement. Other conditions apply for these businesses. Inform yourself in good time which personal, financial and professional requirements you have to fulfill in order to operate in this industrial sector.

quot;Clairvoyance

DE - Purpose of business registration

DE - Purpose of business registration

The purpose of registering a company is to enable the relevant authorities to inspect the running of the business and also to carry out surveys.

DE - Deadlines

DE - Deadlines

Notification of the registration of your company is due immediately at the start of business activities. If you delay in notifying your business, then a fine could be imposed.

DE - Legal basis

DE - Responsible authority

DE - Responsible authority

The responsible authority for business registration is the municipal administration/city council of your future premises.

DE - Process flow

DE - Process flow

The registration of a trade can take place in person or in writing. For the registration of a business, the legal form must be used. These are available in the responsible authority but also for download. Via an "Application Wizard" your business registration shall also be sent via the Internet using the electronic signature. If no electronic signature is used, you must send a signed copy to the responsible authority by post.

If the application is not made by the traders themselves, but by a managing partner or a legal representative, the applicant requires a written evidence of power of attorney.

If your business registration is done in writing or electronically, you will receive a confirmation of your registration (the so-called business license) with the notification of charges within three days. In case of personal registration, you will get the confirmation directly after registration.

The responsible authority forwards the business registration to other agencies such as the tax office, the Chamber of Trade and Industry or the Chamber of Commerce, the Court of Registration and Professional Association.

In case a permit is required and it is not available, the responsible authority may prohibit the continuation of the business.

DE - Required documents

DE - Required documents

  • proof of identity by means of ID card or passport together with up-to-date certificate of residency; if appropriate evidence of power of attorney for a third party (individuals or legal entities) in written form
  • residence permit issued by the appropriate aliens office which incorporates permission to engage in self-employment (for 3rd country nationals only)
  • for proof of the corporate legal form
    • If the location of your company is in Germany, you will need:
      • for registered companies: an excerpt of the Commercial Register (Handelsregisterauszug) and if applicable a copy of the shareholders agreement (e.g. for a company constituted under civil law, (GbR)).
    • If your company is located abroad, you will need documents from the country where it is located which prove its legal form.

Note: In some cases, you also have to present further documents or supporting evidence. Please clarify this with the responsible department.

DE - Charges

DE - Charges

An amount of about € 26 is charged for business registration.

DE - Further information

DE - Further information

Here you can find checklists and overviews which help you plan your new business:

Existenzgründungsportal: Downloads

 

Further information for a start-up in Germany can be found on the portal Your Europe.