Your company is already operating in Germany and you would now like to export worldwide?

Trade Tax

All commercial business operations are liable to trade tax. Although trade tax is regulated by federal law, it is a municipal tax with rates varying at the municipal level.

Trade Tax Rate

Irrespective of their legal form, all commercial business operations in Germany are liable to trade tax (Gewerbesteuer). The trade tax rate is set by local authorities which means it can vary from one municipality to the next. The rules for determining the taxable income (business profits plus certain statutory additions and allowances) are the same throughout Germany. Moreover, the trade tax rate is the same rate for all businesses within one municipality. The minimum trade tax rate must be at least seven percent. There is no statutory ceiling of the trade tax rate, but the German average trade tax rate is slightly above 14 percent. As a rule, the trade tax rate tends to be higher in urban locations than in rural areas. The solidarity surcharge is not levied on trade tax. 

Determining the Trade Tax Rate

The trade tax rate depends on two factors: 

  • the multiplier (Hebesatz) stipulated individually by every municipality
  • the tax base rate of 3.5 percent (across Germany)

The taxable income of the company is multiplied with the tax base rate (3.5 percent) which results in the so-called tax base amount. The tax base amount is then multiplied with the applicable municipal multiplier; which results in the sum total of trade tax which is due. The multiplier is set by each municipality. On average, it is slightly above 400 percent, but may not total less than 200 percent. There is no upper limit for the municipal multiplier. 

Model calculation: A GmbH with an annual taxable income of EUR 1,000,000 is based in city A. City A has stipulated a municipal multiplier of 400 percent. The tax base amount for the GmbH is 3.5 percent of its annual taxable earnings or EUR 35,000. The EUR 35,000 is multiplied by the municipal multiplier of 400 percent, resulting in a total trade tax amount for the GmbH of EUR 140,000. 

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