On your way to self-employment, you will need to register with a number of offices and institutions.

Overview: How to keep on top of the bureaucratic effort

If you know exactly what bureaucratic obligations are associated with a start-up, you can plan, save time and spare your nerves. 

Don’t forget the Gewerbeamt (trade Office) Legal forms for trades are KG (limited partnership), OHG (general partnership), GmbH (limited Company), UG (haftungsbeschränkt) (entrepreneurial company with limited liability), GmbH & Co. KG (limited liability company and limited partnership), AG (joint stock corporation). In addition to this there are sole traders, whose commercial operation has reached a certain scope. Don't forget: all companies with one of these legal forms have to be registered with the trade office.

Registration for Tax

Founders must submit a “Questionnaire for Tax Collection” to the relevant tax office: when starting a commercial, self-employed (freelance) or agricultural or forestry operation. In the questionnaire you have to indicate your expected turnover and profit. Be careful not to underestimate these to avoid having to make tax back payments.

The “Questionnaire for Tax Collection” can also be completed online in “Mein ELSTER” and transmitted electronically to the selected tax office with legal effect. Once the tax office has processed the “Questionnaire for Tax Collection”, you will be sent your future tax number.

Employers’ Liability Insurance Association

The Employers’ Liability Insurance Associations are the providers of statutory accident insurance. Although they are usually automatically informed about a commercial registration, founders are required by law to register with the Employers’ Liability Insurance Association responsible for their sector within a week. To find out which Employers’ Liability Insurance Association is responsible for you, call the statutory accident insurance hotline . Tel.: 08006050404. Anyone who employs staff must register and insure them with their Employers’ Liability Insurance Association.

Commercial Register, Partnership Register, Cooperative Register

As a general rule, a notary undertakes the electronic entry in the relevant register.

Personal assistance

The bottom line is that the formalities are not too bad, especially if you have help with them. In a personal consultation with an advisor at the StarterCenter Berlin in the Chamber of Crafts or IHK. You should make an appointment for this.

  • Chamber of Crafts: Tel. 25903 -467
  • IHK: Tel. 315 10600

Speeding Up the Company Launch

Although the trade office generally also informs the tax office, the IHK or Chamber of Crafts and the Employers’ Liability Insurance Association about the founding of your company, you should contact the relevant authorities yourself so that the necessary registrations don’t take too long. You should be especially persistent with the Chamber of Crafts so that you are entered in the Register of Craftsmen on time, where applicable.

Get approvals before registering. First clarify which approvals you need. Get all the necessary permits or licences before you take care of the registrations.

Berlin Services

An overview of the Federal State’s services for citizens and entrepreneurs can be found on theFederal State’s service portal; you can make appointments online and there is a download area with the relevant forms.

Right of Residency for the Self-Employed Are you not from Germany? Answers to questions associated with rights of residency for the self-employed can be found on theChamber of Commerce and Industry of Berlin (IHK Berlin) website.

Business Immigration Service (BIS)

TheBusiness Immigration Service (BIS) offers support and advice on legal issues relating to residency for foreign investors, companies from defined business sectors and their employees – a joint offering from IHK, Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH and the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency) and the Landesamt für Bürger- und Ordnungsangelegenheiten (State Office for Citizens’ and Regulatory Affairs).

Business Welcome Service

TheBusiness Welcome Service is a special offering from IHK Berlin, which supports foreign companies and start-up founders, as well as qualified employees, in founding and settling in Berlin. The IHK offers advice on the most important questions as quickly and comprehensively as possible.