5 things to start off with

1. Register your business

Before you start a business in Germany, you have to complete a few formalities. These also depend on whether you want to pursue a commercial or professional activity.. Freelancers register with the tax office. If you want to run a business, first contact the local trade office in your municipality What you need to visit offices and also where to find it in your area, shows you the Behördenwegweiser.

Please note: Dealing with authorities is sometimes not that easy. Nevertheless, you should not do without their support. So be prepared – this is the best way to be helped. Complete the formalities in good time. And: Don’t be afraid of bureaucracy and find out about mandatory registrations and permits in advance!


Pay taxes

When you set up a company in Germany, you usually also have to pay taxes to the tax office, i.e. to the local tax authority. The taxes you have to pay depend, among other things, on the size and legal form of your business and the amount of your income.

You will find an overview of the various types of tax in the company portal.

In addition, you must submit an annual tax return for your company to your tax office, in which you disclose all income and sales.
Tip : Get advice from a tax advisor to avoid mistakes and possibly tax debts. The tax office also helps clarify tax issues.

Secure yourself and your company

Working independently also means that you have to take care of a lot yourself. This includes your personal protection – for example in the event of illness or unemployment – but also the company protection. Theft, burst water pipes, fire damage: incidents like these are rare, but can quickly threaten the very existence of young companies in particular.

Health insurance and accident insurance as well as old-age provision and occupational security are therefore indispensable.

The start-up portal explains which insurances are important to you.

Find out about the contracts and laws that affect you

From the rental agreement for your office space to product liability – as an entrepreneur, you have to deal with many contracts, laws and regulations in Germany. The big advantage: If all business processes are contractually stipulated, this guarantees a high degree of legal security.

An overview of all the important laws and contracts that affect you as an entrepreneur can be found in the start-up portal . The Chambers of Commerce and Industry can also provide you with further information. You should contact a lawyer for detailed advice.

Perform your duties as an employer

If you want to employ people in your company, you have to observe some rights and obligations. In order to be able to hire staff, you first need a company number. You can find out how to get this and which steps still need to be taken on the start-up portal. Remember that as an employer in Germany you are obliged to pay taxes and social security contributions on every wage payment.

Of course, you must also observe certain legal provisions with regard to your employees. For example, you have to pay your employees wages even when they are sick; in addition, your employees have the right to vacation. It is also important that employees cannot be dismissed without further ado. You should be well informed about your duties towards employees.

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