Trade registration

When do I need to trade Small business, besides professional self-employment)?

Any scheduled self-employed activity, which is intended for profit, is a trade and must be registered. This login exists regardless of whether this activity is exercised as a primary or a part-time basis. Also the acquisition of an existing business enterprise or the opening of a further branch must be registered. Traders/traders, restaurateurs and craftsmen/craftsmen are among the professionals/businessmen in particular.

The business registration is to perform at the same time with the start of the operation.

Do not count as business activities as a freelancer (for example Doctors, lawyers/lawyers and tax advisers). You can find further information on the topic free professions here.

Where do I register my business?

If you want to register your company or your own business, a business registration is necessary. These commercial display is at the local commercial or To make the public order Office. In smaller municipalities, the business registration office is often located at the Town Hall.

What documents must I submit?

Usually a trade application form and a copy of the identity card are at the Trade Office to submit.  Depending on the type of activity (E.g. zulassungspflichtiges craft, approval-needy business) or the choice of the legal form (E.g. GmbH) additional documents may be required by the competent authority.

The following documents must be submitted in principle:

  • Completed form to the business registration ("information downloads")
  • Proof of identity (identity card or passport)
  • For foreign professionals (non-EU): Copy of the permit required for the pending work


Additional documents may be required in the following individual cases:

For example if

  • As a craftsman of an activity subject to authorisation (e.g. Roofing/Roofing, Mason/Mason).  You can also find detailed information on the performance "entry into the craft role".
  • Your company in a specific legal form (for example, OHG; GmbH). You can also find detailed information on the topic "establish".
  • Your trade permit (e.g. Parking, taxi industry, travel trade) is
    • Certificate for submission to an authority (document type O)
    • Information from the commercial register
    • Social studies exam through the Chamber of Commerce
    • If necessary. more documents
  • You want to run a restaurant. You will also find detailed information on the "opening a restaurant" service.

Conclusion: What documents you need to submit, is related to the selected service or Their activities and the chosen legal form together.


Usually a business application costs €20.00. Obtaining additional documents (E.g. However, clearance) can incur additional costs.

Trade regulations, in particular § 14 of the Gewerbeordnung

Length of proceedings

The legally prescribed processing time for trades subject to authorization is three months. If, on the other hand, your trade is not subject to approval but only to be displayed, the confirmation of your trade announcement should be made within three days.

This period starts with receipt of the complete documentation and may be extended once appropriately if this is justified because of the difficulty of the matter. The deadline extension is the competent authority to establish and to communicate in a timely manner.

Requested permission is considered after the deadline given (approval fiction).

On request, the competent authority confirmed the admission of approval fiction.

What authorities have to be informed more or be informed?

The office usually forwards the business registration to other places such as the tax Office, the Chamber of Crafts or the chamber of Commerce, the Register Court and the professional association.


Financial administration - questionnaire for assessing tax (tax number)

Traders get after the registration usually automatically from the IRS the sent to. If you fill in the form and submit, the IRS will assign a tax number you.

In the questionnaire, you have also the possibility to make use of a small traders. Small businesses enjoy some advantages. They are exempt from the sales tax and may operate a 'simple' accounting. Small businesses are those companies that earn no more than €17,500 in the year. To find more detailed information about the small businesses scheme, also on the sides of the existence Foundation Portal of the Federal Ministry of Economics on economic and energy.


Industry and Chamber of Commerce (ICC) / Chamber of crafts (HWK)

With the registration of commercial activity, you will also automatically member of the Chamber of Commerce and industry, or, if you have logged a handicraft industry, Member of the Chamber of crafts. The Chambers are the representation of the interests of the German economy. Contributions are made for your membership, but small businesses can also get rid of them.


Professional Association

The BGS (VAT Accident insurance) are normally taught in a business application. However, it provides that traders are active here and sign your business within one week at the responsible accident insurer. This reporting obligation (§ 192 social law Book VII), irrespective of the fact that the statutory accident insurance receives a copy of each commercial message. Usually a commercial trade association is responsible for business start-ups. The professional trade associations are broken down by sectors, the addresses can be found here.


Employees set - request number and log on to the social security

Should you employ people in your organization, you should consider the following things:

  • You must request a number at the employment agency and
  • sign the employee or the employee in the social security

Operation number

If you employ employees liable for social security and employees, mini-jobbers (max. 450 euros), or trainees, you will need an operation number. The eight-digit number when the operating numbers service of the federal employment agency will be requested.

Application can be done by telephone, in writing, by fax or E-Mail. The eight-digit number is the basis for the message to social security. With her are workers at the health insurance fund on deregistered and billed to the health, pension and unemployment insurance contributions. Also, it is required for operational work permits or accident ads at the trade association.

Social security

Salaried employees are generally subject to social insurance (in the statutory pension, health, care and unemployment insurance). The health insurance companies collect the contributions. Contact with the health insurance fund of your employee or Their employee in conjunction and register it there. Can hand over the social security card, your staff or your employee. Most health insurances offer consultancy services for employers related to their duties when it comes to social security.

Detailed information can be found here (link).

Business registration online via the points of single contact in North Rhine-Westphalia handle

If you still have questions can you like to contact us, the points of single contact in North Rhine-Westphalia. On request, we will coordinate your concern of business registration also like to electronically via our "ticket system". Our service is free of charge.