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Overview

Before you start up your own business, it is worth completing a few formalities. You need to register with various bodies and observe legal regulations. The most important of these are described below.

Business registration and approval

In most cases, before you set up your business, you need to register it with the relevant local authority’s trade or public order office. There is no need to do this if you are a freelancer. However, you do need to seek clarification from the STARTERCENTER NRW or the tax office as to whether your business operation really is a freelance activity. In more than 80% of all business registration cases, there is no need for any further approvals or permissions. A simple business registration application form is sufficient. The practice of certain business activities requires approvals or permissions. This includes restaurants and hotels, travel-related businesses, agents and brokers, financial services and other activities. You can obtain further information from the authority’s guide or your local trade office.

When you register your business, other authorities are automatically informed that you are setting up (the tax office, relevant chamber, employment office, trade association, statistical office, etc.) You can use the NRW form server to complete these forms at the same time as registering your business.

Tip: Exemptions from business registration

Freelancers, farmers and foresters are exempt from business registration. This does not relieve you of the obligation to register with the tax office, the relevant chamber or the employment office if you are employing other personnel.

Applying to the tax office for a tax registration number

Any business must be registered with the tax office. The tax office will give you a tax registration number and ask you to complete a questionnaire to calculate your sales and profit values. These estimates will be used as the basis for calculating your advance tax payments. When entering your information, do not be too optimistic and remember that your costs in the start-up phase may be very high compared with the amount of revenue you generate. If you are unsure as to whether you rank as a freelancer or whether you need to register your business, you can also obtain information directly from the tax office.

Tipp: Steuerliche Erfassung der Unternehmensgründung über Elster

Unternehmensgründerinnen und -gründer haben die Möglichkeit, den Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung im Dienstleistungsportal der Steuerverwaltung „Mein ELSTER“ bequem und papierlos auszufüllen und elektronisch zu übermitteln. Dieses Verfahren beschleunigt die Erteilung einer Steuernummer. Eine Anleitung zur Registrierung, zum Ausfüllen des Fragebogens sowie zum elektronischen Versand findest Du hier.

 

Weitere Informationen findest Du auch unter:
www.elster.de

Other registration requirements

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    Employment agency

    If you are employing staff, you need to ask the employment agency for a registration number that will be entered on your employees’ certificates of insurance.

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    Companies’ register

    Whether you are setting up independently as a registered merchant (e.K.) or as a company with limited liability (GmbH), limited partnership (KG) or general partnership (OHG), it is a compulsory requirement for a notary to make the necessary entry in the companies’ register.

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    Chamber of trade

    If you are setting up a workshop or craft business (as a craftsman or similarly skilled professional) you need to register this with the local chamber of trade's register of craftsmen.

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    Occupational insurance association

    Commercial enterprises and freelancers are legally obliged to register with an accident insurance institution. To do this, you need to register with the relevant (agricultural) trade association or with public accident insurers.

Other registrations may be relevant depending on the trade and legal form

  • Collective agreement social security systems (SOKA-Bau)
  • Pension insurance organisations
  • Health insurance schemes
  • Guild membership