Written by solicitor Thomas Meier-Bading 2023-09-15 at 14:45

founding a company in Germany


To establish a company in Germany, choose a legal form like GmbH or UG based on business size. Adhere to legal requirements by registering with the local tax office and considering VAT. Navigate German employment laws for team building. When launching a website, be aware of stringent European consumer protection regulations.
Ø Reading time: 2 min.
table of contents:
  • how to found a company in Germany
  • choose the right legal form
  • legal requirements
  • conclusion
  • Rating for this site

how to found a company in Germany

Embarking on a business venture in Germany offers you business access to one of Europe’s most influential economies. Understanding the key steps in the business formation process, along with legal and tax considerations, is crucial for a successful establishment.

Germany offers several business entities, most popular are:

  1. GmbH (Limited Liability Company): The GmbH is a popular choice due to its limited liability feature, protecting shareholders from personal liability. It requires a minimum share capital of €25,000, providing stability for larger enterprises.

  2. UG (Mini-GmbH): The UG is a variant of the GmbH, requiring a lower minimum share capital, making it accessible for smaller businesses. It offers a flexible transition to a full GmbH as the company grows.

  3. AG (Public Limited Company): The AG is a suitable option for larger enterprises seeking public capital. It requires a minimum share capital of €50,000, and its shares can be traded on the stock exchange, providing a broader avenue for fundraising.

  4. OHG (General Partnership): The OHG represents a traditional form of partnership with unlimited personal liability for its owners. It is suitable for smaller businesses where partners collectively manage and share profits, but also risks.

picture: ai, prompt: Thomas Meier-Bading

Navigating the German tax landscape is a critical aspect of business planning. Germany operates under a progressive income tax system, and businesses must register with the local tax office (Finanzamt) upon establishment. Value Added Tax (VAT) registration is also necessary.
Entrepreneurs should also consider the intricacies of German employment and labor laws when building their team. Employment contracts, working hours, and social security contributions are governed by specific regulations.
Further problems arise when launching a website for your business. The European regulation on consumer protection have (at least one of) the highest standards in the world, for instance regarding the right to withdraw from online contracts or on improper General Terms. Be aware of competitors who can produce costly cease-and-destist-letter.


A successful business launch in Germany involves careful consideration of legal structures, tax implications, and employment laws. The choice of business entity should align with the company’s goals, and understanding the nuances of German business culture enhances the prospects of long-term success in this dynamic market.

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