Trade Office Registration
Before starting their business operations, every business operator must inform the trades (or regulatory) office (Gewerbe- oder Ordnungsamt) of the town or local district in which the business operation is located. This applies to every company regardless of its company form (except freelance professionals).
A business license or permit is not necessary for registering the business in the majority of cases. In some sectors, a permit or authorization might be required (e.g. pharmacies, property developers, estate agents, brokers, security firms, pubs and hotels or banks).
The registration of a business activity that does not require a license or permit costs between EUR 20 and EUR 40. Additional costs apply for companies that require a business license. Costs are depending on the sector the business is operating in. For the independent, non-industrial operation of certain trades (e.g. bakers, carpenters or precision makers) entry in the Register of Craftsmen (Handwerksrolle) is also required. The trades that are affected are listed in the Crafts and Trades Regulation Code (Handwerksordnung) where they can be consulted.
The trade office automatically sends a copy of the business registration to the responsible tax office (Finanzamt). This then sends a registration form to the company for tax registration purposes. In addition to this, it also sends the registration to the other relevant institutions such as the respective Employer's Liability Insurance Association (Berufsgenossenschaft), the corresponding Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) and, if required, the Chamber of Crafts (Handwerkskammer).