How to Open a Business in Germany in 5 Easy Steps

Starting a business is never easy. And being successful can be an even greater challenge. This is especially true when attempting to conduct business internationally.

Doing business in Germany might be difficult, and yet this is a country that holds tremendous potential for companies with the skills to get things done and the right strategy for rising to the top in a competitive market.

This article takes a look at what American companies in Germany need to do to maximize their chances for success. Keep reading to discover insight into everything you’ll need to know for a successful launch.

  1. Get the Right Visa & Register Your Address

The first step is to register your address in Germany. In fact, you must do this any time you relocate. You’ll need a tax ID along with a certificate of registration.

Keep in mind that you’ll need the certificate of registration before you can open a bank account, and you’ll need the bank account in order to register your business.

It’s important to understand that non-citizens cannot conduct business within the European Union without a visa. Take a look at your resident permit to see if it contains the line “Selbständige Tätigkeit gestattet” because any resident permit containing this enables you to start a business in Germany.

  1. Open a German Bank Account

You’ll need to open a German bank account in order to start paying taxes. You can also use bank accounts in other countries as long as the support SEPA transfers.

Payroll Services Germany is a great resource for helping to set up payroll for your employees.

  1. Hire a Tax Advisor & Get a Trade Licence

Next, hire an experienced tax advisor who can help you register your business and handle the necessary tax declarations. A good tax advisor will be expensive but worth every penny.

You will also need a trade license. You can obtain this online or by visiting the local Ordnungsamt.

  1. Understand the Difference Between a Freiberufler & a Gewerbetreibender

A local tax office in Germany will decide if you are a Freiberufler (freelance) or a Gewerbetreibender (tradesman).

A tradesman must pay a trade tax, be listed in the trade register, and follow special accounting rules. The title freelance is reserved for specific professionals such as doctors, engineers, and teachers.

  1. Register with the Finanzamt & Update Your Health Insurance

Now you’ll need to declare your business to the Finanzamt. This requires your tax ID, bank account, and trade license. This process will enable you to obtain your tax number and VAT number.

You will also need to inform your health insurance company that you are going freelance. This can be expensive and will result in payment automatically being taken directly from your bank account each month.

A Guide to the Basics of Doing Business In Germany

Starting a business in Europe can be difficult yet extremely profitable. Fortunately, this guide to doing business in Germany should help make the process of getting started as stress-free as possible.

Keep scrolling to discover more cool lifestyle and small business advice.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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