21/08/2017

Company Registration

The commercial register (Handelsregister) provides information about all legally relevant relationships between merchants and commercial companies. The information is public and can be viewed by other companies.

The commercial register contains information about:

  The company of the business
  The name of the partner and/or the personally liable partner
  The managing director or the executive of corporations
  The capital stock of companies
  Liability limitations of partners
  The issuing and revoking of the power of attorney
  The opening of insolvency proceedings
  The dissolving and ending of a company

Commercial Register Display

The commercial register is managed by the district court where it is open to public view at no cost. The companies register can also be consulted online through the common register portal of the German federal states (Gemeinsames Registerportal der Länder, www.handelsregister.de). Some of the company data which is stored in the commercial register is also available electronically through the commercial register of the Federal Gazette (Bundesanzeiger, www.unternehmensregister.de).

Registration Costs

The total cost of entry in the commercial register varies depending on the type of company. Costs incurred are made up of the costs of the notarial certification and the fees charged by the district court for entry and publication in the Federal Gazette.

The costs and fees are not levied on an arbitrary basis but are regulated by law. They largely depend on the number of partners and the share capital. Further costs can be incurred by the provision of additional legal advice.

Companies Required to Register

Companies required to register are those which carry out a commercial business operation. This is individually determined by criteria such as the use of commercial accounting, annual turnover, capital resources and total number of employees. As a rule, all status-relevant actions of companies are subject to registration.*

Registration Procedure

The application for registration in the commercial register is electronically filed in publicly certified form by a notary to the responsible commercial register.

As a rule, the possible limitation of liability of the partner(s) is only effective subsequent to the time of the entry in the commercial register for those company types where entry in the commercial register is part of the act of establishment. Partners can be liable for any losses of the company with their private assets if business is carried out prior to this point in time.

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