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In Germany there are multiple types of legal entity structures, such as:

  • Gesellschaft Mit Beschrankter Haftung (GmbH) Private Limited Company.

  • Aktiengesellschaft (AG) Public Limited company.

  • Offene Handelsgesellschaft (oHG) General Partnership.

Private Limited Companies / GmbH

A GmbH is the most common form of company within Germany. All Limited Companies (GMBH) must file accounts to the end of the calendar year with the German Tax Authorities. These accounts should be prepared by a Registered Accountancy Firm. The minimum share capital for a GMBH is €25,000. This is the amount needed to open a company, the net asset balance has to be maintained.


Public Limited Companies / AG

This type of company is the best option for floatation on the stock market in Germany. It has limited liability and requires a mandatory supervisory board as well as a larger minimum capital amount of €50,000.


General Partnership / oHG

In Germany the most common legal form of partnership is the General Partnership and has unlimited liability. The minimum share capital for an OHG is €50,000. It must have a board of directors and a supervisory body and must hold regular shareholders’ meetings.

On formation of a company a bank account must be maintained.

After the formation the company must register for Corporation tax, VAT (Mwst) and Payroll taxes.


Corporation Tax:​ Corporation Tax in Germany in comprised of separate elements. The combined rate is approximately 30%.


VAT: All German businesses must charge customers VAT on the sale of all goods and services at a general Value-Added Tax rate of 19%.

Foreign companies may be required to pay VAT in Germany if they deliver goods to German companies or provide services in Germany. Companies importing goods to the European Union via Germany must pay import VAT, which means they would have to register in Germany for VAT purposes.

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