Open a German Company

Germany is one of the most attractive countries in Europe for foreign investments. Its central location, easy access to other EU markets and its good infrastructure and highly qualified workforce recommend it for investments in several business fields. One sector that stands out, in particular, is research and development but investment opportunities abound, especially in cities like Berlin.

Company formation in Germany consists of several basic steps that refer to the preparation of the company’s documents and its effective registration with the German authorities. Among the initial steps for starting a company in Germany, we can mention the drafting of the articles of association and all other required documents, such as the specimen signatures, a set of passport copies and the special forms from the company registration office. Investors must officially sign part of the documents in front of a public notary in Germany.

Our Company Registration package includes the following:

  • DSC for one director and DIN for up to three directors
  • Drafting of MoA & AoA
  • Registration fees and stamp duty
  • Company Incorporation Certificate

Company formation in Germany also refers to finding a registered office, opening a bank account and hiring a local accountant for the company. Businessmen interested in forming a company in this country are invited to try our Cost Estimator, a free calculator that shows the average cost for starting and operating a company in Germany for an initial 3-month period. Furthermore, if you want to find out what is the amount of money you have to pay in terms of corporate tax, dividend tax, and VAT, please use our instant tax calculator.

Types of companies in Germany
  • German GMBH

    GmbH-Private Limited Liability Company can be incorporated in Germany by at least one investor with a minimum share capital of 25,000 EUR. The company's capital can be submitted in cash or kind (in this case, the value of the assets must be shown specifically in the articles of association). One issue to consider is that the shares of the German GMBH cannot be transferred to the public nor registered at the Stock Market. The General Shareholder's Meeting is the one that ensures the management of the GMBH. The day-to-day corporate decisions are made by the company’s director which is appointed by the general meeting of the shareholders.

  • AG-German Joint Stock Company

    This is suited to large businesses because of the possibility to increase the initial capital through the registration of the shares to the Stock Market. The German AG requires a share capital of minimum 50,000 EUR. The members are only liable up to the amount they have contributed to the capital, just like in the case of the joint stock companies. The management is assured by the management board which is checked periodically by a supervisory board which is formed by at least three members. For this business type, the accounts must be evaluated by a statutory auditor.

  • German Limited Partnership

    Formed by two types of partners: the silent partners who must bring a contribution to the entity’s capital and has limited liability to the extent of that contribution and the general partners who don’t necessarily make a contribution to the entity’s capital but who have unlimited liability for the entity’s debts and who can claim profits. The general partners are those who have decisional powers in the German limited partnership while the silent partners cannot participate in any of the management decisions.

  • Sole Trader

    Formed by a single individual with his own personal assets and no protection from liability in case the entity is facing bankruptcy.

  • Branch

    Branches are also popular methods of entering the German market and many foreign investors choose it as the first step in their business path. The branch is not a legal entity, this is why its assets and liabilities belong to the parent company. You can reach out to our contact our company formation specialists in Germany for more details regarding the particularities of these types of structures.

Steps for company formation in Germany

All rules and regulation regarding the formation of German companies are included in the Company Act. The first steps for company incorporation in Germany include the verification the company name at the local chamber of industry and commerce and are followed by the preparation of the company's Articles of Association and opening a bank account. The minimum share capital as per the chosen business structure is deposited in that account.

  • choose a company type

    this can be the limited liability company, the joint stock company or the partnership.

  • choose a company name

    the name of the new legal entity needs to be unique and can be checked for availability.

  • execute the deed of formation

    this is performed before a notary in Germany; the founders also prepare the Articles of Association.

  • deposit the share capital

    some business forms require a minimum share capital, that is deposited in a bank account.

  • register the business

    the formation ends with registering the company in the commercial register. The founders of the company need to sign the application for registration in front of the notary public. Once the company is registered, the liability of the founders enters into effect.

The company incorporation procedure in Germany

The following documents are to be submitted to the German Commercial Register in order to start the registration process: an application for registration, the notarized articles of association, a document showing the management board structure, a certificate showing that the share capital was deposited. The documents must be submitted in an electronic form. The registration of the new legal entity is recorded by the Commercial Register on an electronic platform. After the submission of the documents, company incorporation in Germany continues by is applying for the trading license from the local Office of Business and Standards followed by the registration with the statistical office (which will send a questionnaire that must be filled with the company's business data) and at the chamber of industry and commerce and the labor office. The labor office will issue an eight-digit operating number which must be reported for social security purposes. The entity must then apply for the federal health insurance office. A notification must be sent to the Tax Office which reports the formation of the new business entity, this leading to the registration for the corporate taxes and VAT. After the company is registered, the business can start its commercial activity. Most of the German companies will also hire employees soon after they are incorporated. Employers have access to a well-trained workforce and they can recruit either on job websites or by working with recruitment agencies. The selection process is important so that the employees can find suitable candidates for the open position. Companies are required to comply with the local accounting, filing and audit rules. The German Generally Accepted Accounting Principles are the standard that is followed for accounting purposes, along with the International Financial Reporting Standards. Medium and large companies need to comply file the annual financial statements, the management report and other supporting documentation within three months following the end of the financial year (which can also be the calendar year). These types of companies must also audit these documents. Our company formation agents can offer incorporation services in the most important German cities and states, such as: Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden, Nuremberg, Koln, Cologne, Bavaria, Saxony, Hesse.

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