What are the requirements of business formation in Germany:
1. A corporate structure
2. A unique company name.
3. A clear company objective
4. Articles of association and a list of shareholders
How to register your company in Germany 👉
Since the company registration process in Germany is complex, it is important to follow these steps:
✅ Go to a notary to incorporate your branch.The first step is to gather your shareholders and proceed to a notary’s office. Be sure to bring identification and the necessary documents, like your articles of association, shareholders list, and company objective. If your company can work with a notary to pay your fees, you may be able to save time. Being responsible for the fees yourself will cause a delay — you will have to wait to receive an invoice in the mail, and you will not receive your license until you have paid it. However, the notary you work with may be able to vouch for the payment, especially if you deposit the funds in cash at the notary’s office.
✅ Set up a German bank account.Your company requires a German bank account for its business, payroll, and tax-related transactions within the country. Having a German bank account allows you to declare your business formally and begin paying taxes.
If your company already has a European bank account in another country, you may be able to use that account for business operations in Germany. The account needs to support Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) transfers if you choose this arrangement.
Be aware that many German banks do not provide services to company founders who are not German or EU nationals. Your company may wish to adjust its founders list accordingly or engage with outside partners who can render assistance.
As soon as you have a bank account, you can deposit your share capital, or Stammkapital, into the account in cash or via wire transfer. You’ll then need to send a copy of the deposit slip to the notary as confirmation and pay your notary invoice.
✅ Engage the services of qualified tax advisors.Working with qualified tax advisors is beneficial because they can help you navigate tricky local tax nuances, and the partnership offers additional benefits during your company’s registration process. Your tax advisors may be able to do some of the registration work for you, saving you time and mental labor. Good tax advisors can also be instrumental in helping you complete the necessary tax office questionnaire, or Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung.
You may want to grant your tax advisors power of attorney so they can make tax-related decisions on your company’s behalf. Reelo can provide such service.
✅ Submit your trade registration and obtain a trade license.The next step is to submit your trade registration to your local trade office, the Gewerbeamt, and receive the license known in Germany as a Gewerbeschein. This trade license allows your company to start operating in the country. Your company can likely apply for this trade license online, or you can go to the public order enforcement office, the Ordnungsamt.
✅ Register your company with the trade register.The next step in German company registration is to file registration paperwork with the commercial trade register, or Handelsregister, in your location. Doing so will establish your company legally and protect your company’s name. To register with the Handelsregister, your business must provide a notarized company contract. You will also likely have to pay a fee of a few hundred euros.
✅ Register your company with the tax office.Once you have obtained the requisite accounts and licenses and filed some necessary preliminary paperwork, you can register your company in Germany. To do so, you need to go to the tax office, to fill out the official registration paperwork, or you may submit the completed paperwork by mail. You may also need to show the receipt from the trade register.
The registration paperwork, known officially as the Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung, is lengthy and complex. To save time and ensure accuracy, many companies request help from their tax partners at this stage, if not before.
✅ Register with local trade bodies.Once your company is formally registered in Germany, you may want to register with local governing bodies as well. Research the relevant organizations in your area, including the local Chamber of Industry and Commerce or Chamber of Skilled Crafts. You will also want to register with the professional organization, known in Germany as the Berufsgenossenschaft, that covers your company’s industry.
✅ Obtain your tax ID numbers.Once you register, your company will receive a tax ID number from the Finanzamt. This number, known as a Steueridentifikationsnummer, is the tax number you will use for many of your local tax transactions. Once you have your tax ID number, you may also need to apply with the Federal Tax office to obtain the value-added tax (VAT) ID number, or USt-IdNr, which you will use for your value-added taxes. You will not receive a VAT ID number if your business is small enough that it does not pay a VAT.
All set now 🥳