Starting a Business in


Below is a detailed summary of the bureaucratic and legal hurdles faced by entrepreneurs wishing to incorporate and register a new firm in Germany. It examines the procedures, time and cost involved in launching a commercial or industrial firm with between 10 and 50 employees and start-up capital of 10 times the economy's per-capita gross national income.

This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 189 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2015.

Compare Germany to 188 other economies.

  • Standardized Company

  • Legal form: GmbH-Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung
  • Paid-in minimum capital requirement: EUR 12,500
  • City: Berlin
No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs
1 Obtain the company’s name at the local chamber of industry and commerce
Agency: Chamber of Industry & Commerce

Entrepreneurs need to obtain the company’s name at the Berlin Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
Less than one day (online procedure) no charge
2 Notarize the Articles of Association and Memorandum of Association
Agency: Public Notary

The Bundestag of Germany passed the Act on Modernization of Cost Rules (2. Kostenrechtsmodernisierungsgesetz) on June 27, 2013, which came into force on August 1, 2013. This Act restructured the system of judicial and notarial fees for more transparency and adjusted the costs of notarizing the Articles of Association and Memorandum of Association to the general economic development.

The updated fees for notaries are contained in table B of sec 34 GNotKG:

First EUR 500= EUR 15
Up to EUR 2,000 an increase of EUR 4 for every EUR 500
Up to EUR 10,000 an increase of EUR 6 for every EUR 1,000
Up to EUR 25,000 an increase of EUR 8 for every EUR 3,000
Up to EUR 50,000 an increase of EUR 10 for every EUR 5,000
Up to EUR 200,000 an increase of EUR 27 for every EUR 15,000
Up to EUR 500,000 an increase of EUR 50 for every EUR 30,000
Up to EUR 5,000,000 an increase of EUR 80 for every EUR 50,000
Up to EUR 10,000,000 an increase of EUR 130 for every EUR 200,000
1 day EUR 250
3 Open a bank account
Agency: Bank

For a GmbH company, at least 50 percent of the initial capital must be paid up front.
1 day no charge
4 File the Articles of Association through the notary public at the local Commercial Register
Agency: Notary Public

Applicants must submit to the Commercial Register by electronic form:
• the notarized articles of association
• the deed of appointment of the directors, if not included in the articles
• a list of the company’s shareholders
• the assurance that the statutory minimum paid-in capital has been paid in to the free disposition of the management.

Pursuant to the applicable registration laws, the Commercial Register must decide on the company’s registration without undue delay. The Commercial Register publishes the registration on a central electronic platform ( and notifies the local Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Tax Office of the new company.
3 days EUR 150 (registration fee) + EUR 250 (application for registration)
5 Notify the local Office of Business and Standards of the establishment of the company
Agency: Local Trade Department (Gewerbeamt)

Certain businesses (e.g., restaurants and brokers) must apply for a trading permit (Gewerbeerlaubnis). However, the permit does not have to be presented at the time of the registration of the GmbH at the commercial register. If no such permit is required, start-up companies must simply notify the local Trade Office, which issues a trading license (Gewerbeschein). This notification procedure also covers registration formalities with the Central Statistical Office, the relevant Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the local Labor Office, the Social Security and Federal Health Insurance Office.
1 day EUR 31
* 6 Register with the Professional Association of the relevant trade
Agency: Professional Association (Berufsgenossenschaft)

The professional associations are carriers of occupational accident insurance. Registration must be done within a week of the founding of the business after the notarization of the Articles of Association.
1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) no charge
* 7 Notify the local Labor Office of the establishment of the company
Agency: Local Labor Office

The notification can be in writing and/or over the phone. The Labor Office assigns an eight-digit operating number, which is needed to report to the Social Security Office.
1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) no charge
* 8 Register employees for health and social insurance
Agency: Social Security Office

The Social Security and Federal Health Insurance Office notifies the local Labor Office and the annuity insurance carrier (Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund). It also collects payment for mandatory health, unemployment, and annuity insurance.
1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) no charge
* 9 Mail out the documentation to the Tax Office
Agency: Local Tax Office

Registration must be done within a month of the opening of the business and not later than a month after the notarization of the Articles of Association. After the Tax Office is notified of the company’s business activity by the Trade Office, the Tax Office sends the company a questionnaire requesting the company’s business data.
1 day (simultaneous with previous procedure) no charge
  * Takes place simultaneously with another procedure.

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