Start-up Formalities and Legal Form

When starting your own company, various formalities need to be taken care of. Depending on the branch, legal form and other underlying conditions, you will have to register your company at various places (Register of Craftsmen, trade office, tax office, commercial register). If applicable, you will also require further exemptions/authorisations or permits, for example for  passenger transport, restaurant permits or insurance brokerage.

Detailed information on start-up formalities is available through the IHK (Chamber of Industry and Commerce).

The legal form defines the businesses' operational framework  and is normally regulated in the partnership agreement when establishing the set-up. The decision for an appropriate legal form must be carefully thought through as it will have a wide range of legal, financial, structural and personal consequences regarding, for example, liability, equity capital, public perceptionor taxes.
A distinction can be principally made between three different business forms:

  • Individual businesses are characterised by the fact that, for example, entrepreneuers are personally liable for company debts (merchant).
  • The same applies for partnerships such as the GbR (Gesellschaft bürgerlichen Rechts) [partnership under the Civil Code] and the OHG (Offene Handelsgesellschaft) [general partnership].
  • Capital companies, in contrast, offer the opportunity to limit liability to the interest in the company. That is the case, for example, for GmbH (Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung) [limited liability company], entrepreneurial companies or AG (Aktiengesellschaft) [joint-stock company].

The choice of legal form depends on many different factors. For further information see the website of IHK. With regard to the choice of legal form, it is always advisable to consult an attorney.

Insurance Policies

Find detailed information on important insurance policies and protection here.