If you start a business in Germany, you must register it with the Finanzamt. This is how you get a tax number (Steuernummer), a VAT number (Umsatzsteuernummer), and an entry in the trade register (Handelsregister). In this guide, I show you how to register a sole proprietorship with the Finanzamt, step by step.

Since 2021, you can't send the paper version of the Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung. You must fill the form online on ELSTER1. The guide is for the online version.

Different ways register your business

There are 3 ways to register your business with the Finanzamt:

Sorted's form is easier to fill than the official form. It's 100% in English.

Before you start

Can you be self-employed?

You might need a residence permit to work in Germany. Your current residence permit might not allow you to be self-employed.

If you apply for the German freelance visa, you must register your business before you apply.

Related guide: Get the right visa (How to start a business)

Are you a Freiberufler or a Gewerbe?

If you register a Gewerbe, you must get a trade licence (Gewerbeschein) before you continue. This takes a bit more time. If you are a Freiberufler, you don't need one.

Related guide: Are you a Freiberufler or a Gewerbe? (How to start a business)

Register your address and get a tax ID

You need a registered address and a tax ID to create an ELSTER account and register your business. When you create the ELSTER account, they ask for your tax ID, and they send an account activation code to your registered address.

If you have a tax ID, but you don't have a registered address, you can still register your business with a tax advisor. You can ask the Finanzamt to send letters to your tax advisor.

    Related guides:

    Open a bank account

    You need a bank account that supports SEPA transfers. This is how you pay your taxes. You must have this before you continue.

    Related guide: Open a bank account (How to start a business)

    Create an ELSTER account

    You need an ELSTER account to register your business. Later, you can use your ELSTER account to file your taxes and submit VAT returns online1. The ELSTER website is only in German.

    Related guide: How to create an ELSTER account

    Get a Gewerbeschein

    If you register a Gewerbe, you must get a trade licence (Gewerbeschein). This is how you register for the business tax (Gewerbesteuer). In Berlin, you can apply for a Gewerbeschein online or at the Ordnungsamt. You must do this before you register your business with the Finanzamt.

    If you register as a Freiberufler, you don't need a Gewerbeschein1.

    Related guide:

      Understand the Value Added Tax (Umsatzsteuer)

      This form is easier to fill if you understand how the Value Added Tax (VAT) works. This introduction should help.

      VAT number: If you want to sell goods and services in the European Union, you need a VAT number. You will get a VAT number 4 to 6 weeks after you fill the Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung1.

      Charging VAT: In Germany, you don't need to charge VAT if you are a Kleinunternehmer1. Not charging VAT saves you a lot of work, but it prevents you from claiming VAT refunds. This guide explains when it makes sense. If you decide to charge VAT, you can't change your decision for the next 5 years1.

      Useful link: A guide to VAT for freelancers in Germany (2016)

      Understand the difference between revenue and profit

      Revenue (Umsatz) or income is how much money you get, even if you don't keep all of it. Some of that money goes to business expenses. Profit (Gewinn) is how much money you keep after expenses.

      How to register your business with ELSTER

      To register your business, you must fill the Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung. This was a paper form, but now it's an online form on ELSTER. The online form is much easier to fill.

      To find the form, go on ELSTER, and in the sidebar, under Formulare & Leistungen, click Alle Formulare and find the Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung für Einzelunternehmen.

      Section 1: Angaben zur Person

      In this section, you share information about you.

      Steuerpflichtige(r) - Taxable person

      • Anrede - Salutation
      • Titel - Title
        For example, "Dr."
      • Name - Last name
      • Gegebenenfalls Geburtsname - Birth name, if applicable
      • Vorname - First name
      • Namensvorsatz - Name prefix
      • Namenszusatz - Name suffix
        For example, "der Ältere" or "Junior". More examples here.
      • Ausgeübter Beruf - Practised profession
        Your current profession. For example, "Zahnarzt" (dentist). You must write it in German. Use this list of professions to find the correct translation.
      • Geburtsdatum - Birth date
      • Religion
      • Identifikationsnummer - Tax ID
      • Umsatzsteuer-Identifikationsnummer - VAT number
        If you register a new business, you don't have this number yet. You can leave this field empty.
      • Vergabedatum - Date of issuance
        The date when you received your VAT number

      Familienstand - Family situation

      • Stand der Ehe / eingetragenen Lebenspartnerschaft - Status of marriage / registered partnership
      • seit dem - Since...
        The date when you got married, if applicable.

      Adresse - Address

      • Adresse im Inland - Address in Germany
        Write the address where you live, not the address of your business.
        • Straße, Hausnummer, Hausnummerzusatz - Street, house number, extra house number information
          The Hausnummerzusatz gives more information about the door number. For example, the floor number, the building number, the apartment number or the room number.
        • Adressergänzung - Address extension
          For example, "c/o [your name]" if your name is not on the mailbox1.
        • Postleitzahl, Wohnort - Post code, locality
          Your post code and locality. For example, "10115" and "Berlin".
      • Adresse im Ausland - Address abroad
        If you have an address outside of Germany, write it here. This is optional.
        • Straße, Hausnummer, Hausnummerzusatz - Street, house number, extra house number information
        • Adressergänzung - Address extension
        • Postleitzahl, Wohnort - Post code, locality
          Your post code and locality abroad. For example, "10118" and "New York".
        • Staat - Country
      • Postfach - Post office box
        If you have a P.O. box, write it here. This is optional.
        • Postfach - Post office box
          For example, "3 22 63"
        • Postleitzahl, Ort - Post code, locality
          For example, "10115" and "Berlin".

      Telefon - Personal telephone
      You can click "Weitere Daten hinzufugen" to add more phone numbers.

      • Vorwahl international - International call prefix
        If you live in Germany, it's "+49" or "0049". For other countries, use this list.
      • Vorwahl national - Local call prefix
        If you live in Germany, it's the first 2-3 digits of your local number. For example, "30" or "1522". More information here.
      • Rufnummer - Phone number
        The rest of your phone number.

      E-Mail - Email

      • E-Mail-Adresse - Email address
        Your personal email address. Usually, the Finanzamt sends you letters, not emails.

      Internet

      • Internetadresse - Website URL

      Section 2: Ehegatte / Ehegattin / eingetragene(r) Lebenspartner(in)

      In this section, you share information about your spouse.

      • Anrede - Salutation
      • Titel - Title
        For example, "Dr."
      • Name - Last name
      • Gegebenenfalls Geburtsname - Birth name, if applicable
      • Vorname - First name
      • Namensvorsatz - Name prefix
      • Namenszusatz - Name suffix
        For example, "der Ältere" or "Junior". More examples here.
      • Ausgeübter Beruf - Practised profession
        Your spouse's current profession. For example, "Zahnarzt" (dentist). You must write it in German. Use this list of professions to find the correct translation.
      • Geburtsdatum - Birth date
      • Religion
      • Identifikationsnummer - Tax ID

      Adresse - Address of your spouse
      Only fill this section if it's different from your address.

      • Adresse im Inland - Address in Germany
        Write the address where your spouse lives.
      • Adresse im Ausland - Address abroad
        If your spouse has an address outside of Germany, write it here. This is optional.
      • Postfach - Post office box
        If your spouse has a P.O. box, write it here. This is optional.

      Section 4: Steuerliche Beratung

      In this section, you share information about your tax advisor, if you have one. If you don't have a tax advisor, skip this section.

      Natürliche Person - Natural person
      Information about your tax advisor.

      Adresse - Address
      The address of your tax advisor.

      Telefon - Telephone
      The phone number of your tax advisor.

      E-Mail - Email
      The email address of your tax advisor.

        Vollmacht - Power of attorney

        • Die Anzeige der Empfangsvollmacht erfolgt über die Vollmachtdatenbank
          Ask your tax advisor about this option.

        Section 5: Empfangsbevollmächtige(r) für alle Steuerarten

        The Finanzamt can talk to your tax advisor directly, instead of talking to you. This allows your tax advisor to take care of everything for you. It's much easier that way.

        • Steuerliche Beratung mit Empfangsvollmacht
          Tick this box if you want the Finanzamt to talk to tax advisor (from section 4) instead of you.
        • Die Anzeige der Empfangsvollmacht erfolgt über die Vollmachtdatenbank
          Ask your tax advisor about this option.

        Natürliche Person / Adresse / Telefon / E-Mail
        If you want another person to talk to the Finanzamt for you, but not the tax advisor from section 4, write their information here.

        Nicht natürliche person / Adresse / Telefon / E-Mail
        If you want another business to talk to the Finanzamt for you, but not the tax advisor from section 4, write their information here.

        Section 6: Bisherige persönliche Verhältnisse

        If you moved to a different address in the last 12 months, you must enter your old address here.

        Bisherige Adresse falls Sie innerhalb der letzten 12 Monate zugezogen sind - Previous address if you moved in the last 12 months

        • Innerhalb der letzten 12 Monate zugezogen am - The date of your last address change.

        Frühere Adresse - Previous address
        Enter your previous home address.

        Falls Sie in den letzten drei Jahren für Zwecke der Einkommensteuer steuerlich erfasst waren
        If you paid income tax in Germany in the last three years, select the German state where you lived. If you had a job or a business in Germany, you must fill this section.

        • Steuernummer - tax number
          If you had a Steuernummer, enter it here. If this is your first business, you don't have a Steuernummer yet.

        Gegebenfalls hiervon abweichende Angaben Ihres Ehegatten [...]
        If your spouse paid income tax in Germany in the last three years, and spouse had a different Finanzamt or Steuernummer, you must fill this section.

        Section 7: Angaben zum Unternehmen

        In this section, you share information about the business you register.

        • Art der Tätigkeit - Type of occupation
          A description of what you do as a freelancer or what your business does. You must write it in German, and you must be as specific as possible. If necessary, find a translator to help you. The Finanzamt will use this description to decide if you are a tradesperson (Gewerbe) or a freelancer (Freiberufler)1, so this is very important.
          Official examples for this field1:
          • Handel mit Hilfsmitteln zum Schweißen oder Löten - Store that sells tools for soldering and metal welding
          • Bäckerei (Handel mit Bäckereierzeugnissen - Brötchen, Brot, Backwaren) - Bakery (commerce with baked goods: bread, rolls, pastries)
          • Arzt - Internist - Doctor, internist
        • Bezeichnung des Unternehmens - Name of the business
          This is the name of your business. For example, "All About Berlin", or "John Smith, painter".
        • Beginn der Tätigkeit - Start of the occupation
          The date when you officially started working on your business, including opening bank accounts, reserving domain names, contracting other people etc. If you already started, you can use a date in the past.

        Adresse des Unternehmens - Address of the business
        The address of your business.

        Telefon - Telephone
        The phone number of your business.

        E-Mail - Email
        The email address of your business.

        Section 8: Abweichender Ort der Geschäftsleitung

        If your executive board is at a different address, you must put the information in this section.

        Section 9: Betriebstätten

        If you have multiple business locations, add them here.

        Section 10: Handelsregistereintrag

        If you already have an entry in the trade register (Handelsregister), fill this section. If this is a new business, you can skip this section. For more information about the trade register, read this guide.

        • Eine Eintragung ist beabsichtigt - Registration is intended
          Select "Ja" if you want an entry in the trade register.
          • Freelancers (Freiberufler) don't need to be in the Handelsregister1.
          • Small businesses (Kleinunternehmer) don't need to be in the Handelsregister1, but they can choose to be.
          • Being in the Handelsregister forces you to use double entry bookkeeping1. This can make things really complicated for a small business or freelancer.
          • If you are a Gesellschaft bürgerlichen Rechts, a company constituted under civil law, you don't need to be listed in the Handelsregister1, 2.
        • Eine Eintragung ist erfolgt - Registration is already done
          Choose "Ja" if you already have an entry in the trade register. If this is a new business, choose "Nein".
        • Der Handelsregistereintrag besteht seit - The trade register entry exists since...
          If you already have an entry in the trade register, enter the date of registration. If this is a new business, leave this field empty.
        • Antrag beim Handelsregister wurde gestellt - A trade registration application was already made
          If you already applied for a trade register entry, but you have not received it, choose "Ja". Otherwise, choose "Nein".
        • Antrag wurde gestellt am - Application was made on...
          If you already applied for a trade register entry, but you have not received it, enter the date of your application.
        • Ort des zuständigen Registergerichts - Location of the registry court
          If you applied for a trade register entry, or if you already have a trade register entry, enter the location of the Registergerichts where you have an entry.
        • Handelsregister Bezeichnung - Label of the trade register
          If you have a trade register entry, select the first letters of your trade register number.
        • Handelsregister Nummer - Trade register number
          If you have a trade register entry, enter the rest of your trade register number.

        Section 11: Gründungsform

        In this section, you choose the type of company you are forming.

        • Gründungsart - Type of formation
          Choose "Neugründung".
        • Gründungsdatum - Formation date
          The start date of your business

        Vorherige/r Inhaber/in
        Information about the previous business owner. You can leave this section empty because you are registering a new business.

        Vorheriges Unternehmen
        Information about the previous business form. You can leave this section empty because you are registering a new business.

        Section 12: Bisherige betriebliche Verhältnisse

        • Ist in den letzten fünf Jahren schon ein Gewerbe [...]
          Choose "Ja" if:
          • You have been a freelancer (Freiberufler) in Germany in the last 5 years
          • ...or you have owned a business (Gewerbe) in Germany in the last 5 years
          • ...or you have owned an agricultural or silvicultural operation in Germany in the last 5 years
          • ...or you have owned more than 1% of a corporation (Kapitalgesellschaft)
        • Art der Tätigkeit/Beteiligung - Type of operation/involvement
          If you chose "Ja" in the last field, enter a description of your previous activities. For example, you can write that you were the "owner of Jim's
          Widget Company", or that you were a "freelance photographer". Remember: you must fill this form in German. If you chose "Nein", leave this field empty.
        • Ort - Location
          If you chose "Ja", enter the name of the city where it happened. If you chose "Nein", leave this field empty.
        • Dauer: von - Duration from
          If you chose "Ja", enter the date when it started. If you chose "Nein", leave this field empty.
        • Dauer: bis - Duration until
          If you chose "Ja", enter the date when it ended. If you chose "Nein", leave this field empty.
        • Umsatzsteuer-Identifikationsnummer - VAT number
          If you chose "Ja", enter the date VAT number of that business. If you did not have one, leave this field empty. If you chose "Nein", leave this field empty.

        Steuernummer Vortätigkeit - Tax number of previous activity
        If you chose "Ja", enter the tax number of that previous operation.

        Section 13: Angaben zur Festsetzung der Vorauszahlungen

        In this section, you enter your expected profit for your first 2 years in business. You must enter the expected profit (not revenue1, 2) from all your jobs, businesses and investments. This helps the Finanzamt calculate your tax prepayments.

        There are 4 columns to fill:

        1. Your expected income during your first year in business.
        2. Your spouse's expected income during your first year in business. If you are not married or in a civil union, leave this column empty.
        3. Your expected income during your second year in business.
        4. Your spouse's expected income during your second year in business. If you are not married or in a civil union, leave this column empty.

          Voraussichtliche Einkünfte aus - Expected income from...

          • Land- und Forstwirtschaft - Agriculture and silviculture
          • Gewerbebetrieb - Commercial operations
            The profit from running your Gewerbe.
          • Selbständiger Arbeit - Freelance work
            The profit from working as a Freiberufler.
          • Nichtselbständiger Arbeit - Employment
            For example, your salary from a regular full time job or from a mini-job.
          • Kapitalvermögen - Investments
            For example, investments in the stock market.
          • Vermietung und Verpachtung - Rental and leasing
            For example, income from renting an apartment.
          • Sonstigen Einkünften - Special income
            For example from a pension.

          Voraussichtliche Höhe der - Expected amount of...

          • Sonderausgaben - Special expenses
            This is for expenses like tax write-offs, not regular business expenses like office supplies or advertising. If you are not sure, leave this row empty.
          • Steuerabzugsbeträge - Tax deduction amounts
            Expected amount of income tax deductions. If you are not sure, leave this row empty.

          Section 14: Angaben zur Gewinnermittlung

          In this section, you choose how you report your income to the Finanzamt.

          • Gewinnermittlungsart - Type of profit assessment
            This is how you report your profit to the Finanzamt. Read this guide or this guide to compare single and double entry bookkeeping. If you are not sure, ask a tax advisor.
            • Gewinn- und Verlustrechnung - Profit and loss statement
              Also known as double entry bookkeeping. In some cases, you are forced to use double entry bookkeeping.
              • If you will be registered in the Handelsregister, you must choose this option1.
              • or if you register a Gewerbe, and you make more than 60,000€/year in profit, you must choose this option1.
              • or if you register a Gewerbe, and you make more than 600,000€/year in revenue, you must choose this option1.
            • Einnahmen-Überschuss-Rechnung - Income surplus calculation
              Also known as single entry bookkeeping or cash-basis accounting. This is simpler than double entry bookkeeping.
              • If you register as a Freiberufler, you do not need to use double entry bookkeeping1. Single entry bookkeeping can be easier for you.
              • If you are a small business (Kleinunternehmer), you do not need to use double entry bookkeeping1. Single entry bookkeeping can be easier for you.
            • Betriebsvermögensvergleich - Comparison of business assets
            • Gewinnermittlung nach Durchschnittssätzen
              Report your profit based on average rates. This option is only for agricultural and silvicultural businesses.
            • Sonstige - Other
              Report your profit with another method. This probably is not for you.
          • Erläuterung der sonstigen Gewinnermittlungsart - Explanation for the special type of reporting
            If you chose "Sonstige" in the last field, you can explain why in this field. If you chose something else, leave this field empty.
          • Liegt ein vom Kalenderjahr abweichendes Wirtschaftsjahr vor? - Do you use a different fiscal calendar?
            If your business year starts on January 1 and ends on December 31, choose "Nein". If your business uses a different fiscal calendar, choose "Ja". You will probably choose "Nein".
          • Beginn des vom Kalenderjahr abweichenden Wirtschaftsjahres - Start date of the fiscal calendar
            If you chose "Ja" in the last field, enter the start date of your fiscal calendar. If you don't use a different fiscal calendar, leave this field empty. You will probably leave this field empty.

          Section 15: Freistellungsbescheinigung gemäß § 48b EStG (Bauabzugssteuer)

          Check this box if you want to apply for tax deductions on construction work. If you have big construction or renovation expenses, ask a tax advisor about this section. If you don't have construction or renovation expenses, do not check this box.

          Section 16: Angaben zur Anmeldung und Abführung der Lohnsteuer

          In this section, you list your employees. This affects how much payroll tax you will pay1. If you don't have employees, you can skip this section.

          Zahl der Arbeitnehmer - Number of employees

          • Zahl der Arbeitnehmer (einschließlich Aushilfskräfte) insgesamt - Total number of employees, including temporary workers
            Write the total number of employees you are hiring, including temporary workers. If you do not have employees, leave this line empty.
          • davon Familienangehörige - ...that are relatives
            Write the number of employees that are members of your family.
          • davon geringfügig Beschäftigte - ...that are marginally employed
            Write the number of marginally employed workers (employees with minijobs)1.

          Beginn der Lohnzahlungen - Start of salary payments
          The date when you will start paying your employees.

            Voraussichtliche Lohnsteuer im Kalenderjahr - Expected payroll tax this calendar year
            Use this website to calculate payroll tax you must pay. If you do not have employees, you do not need to pay payroll tax, so you can leave this line empty.

            Lohnsteuerliche Betriebstätte - Payroll tax business location
            This is the business location that pays the payroll tax. If you only have one business address, use that address.

            Section 17: Angaben zur Anmeldung und Abführung der Umsatzsteuer

            In this section, you register for VAT, and choose how to make VAT (Umsatzsteuer) payments.

            Geschäftsveräußerung im Ganzen (§ 1 Absatz 1a UStG)
            If you are not buying or selling another company, choose "Nein". If you are not sure, ask a tax advisor about it.

            Summe der Umsätze (geschätzt) - Total revenue (estimated)
            Your estimated revenue is used decide how you will pay your taxes. It also decides if you can be a small business (Kleinunternehmer).

            • im Jahr der Betriebseröffnung - in the first year of business
              How much revenue you expect in your first year of business (your first calendar year, not your first 365 days).
            • im Folgejahr - in the second year of business
              How much revenue you expect in your second year of business (your second calendar year, not your first 365 days).

            Kleinunternehmer-Regelung
            If you are a small business (Kleinunternehmer), you can charge VAT, but you don't have to. You can only be a small business if your revenue is under 22,000€ in your first year of business and under 50,000€ in the following years1. Freiberufler and Gewerbe can both be small businesses. This guide has more information.

            • [...] In Rechnungen wird keine Umsatzsteuer gesondert ausgewiesen [...]
              Check this box if you are a small business (Kleinunternehmer), and you don't want to charge VAT (Umsatzsteuer) on your invoices. If you think your business will stay small, this can be better1. If you don't charge VAT, you don't have to make VAT declarations, and your prices are lower for your customers.
            • [...] Es wird auf die Anwendung der Kleinunternehmer-Regelung verzichtet. [...]
              Check this box if you are a small business (Kleinunternehmer), and you want to charge VAT (Umsatzsteuer) on your invoices. If you think your business will make over 50,000€ per year later, this can be better1. When you stop being a small business, you don't need to change your prices or accounting. You will already be prepared.

            Zahllast / Überschuss (geschätzt)
            Enter how much VAT you will collect. This decides how you will make VAT payments to the Finanzamt.

            Steuerbefreiung - Tax exemption
            If you are a small business (Kleinunternehmer), and you don't plan to charge VAT, skip this subsection.

            • Es werden ganz oder teilweise steuerfreie Umsätze gemäß § 4 UStG ausgeführt - There will be tax-free revenue according to § 4 UStG.
              Choose "Ja" if you want to apply for partial or total VAT exemptions according to § 4 UStG. Here is a list of activities that can have tax exemptions1. If you are a freelancer or a small business, this probably does not apply to you.
            • nach § 4 Nummer - According to § 4 paragraph...
              Write the number of the paragraph in § 4 UStG that qualifies you for a tax exemption. For example, "15a" (tax exemption for medical services). This list can help you. If you chose "Nein" in the previous field, leave this field empty.
            • Art des Umsatzes / der Tätigkeit - Type of revenue or activity
              The activity for which you want a tax exemption. For example: "medizinische Dienste" (medical services)1. This list can help you. If you do not apply for a tax exemption, leave this field empty.

            Steuersatz - Tax rate
            If you are a small business (Kleinunternehmer), and you don't plan to charge VAT, skip this subsection.

            • Es werden Umsätze ausgeführt, die [...] dem ermäßigten Steuersatz gemäß § 12 Abs. 2 UStG unterliegen - Some revenue will have a reduced tax rate according to § 12 Abs. 2 UStG.
              Choose "Ja" if you want to charge a lower VAT according to § 12 UStG. For some products and services, you can charge a 7% VAT instead of 19%. You must list these products separately on your invoices, and you must specify why the lower tax rate applies.
            • nach § 12 Absatz 2 Nummer ... UStG - According to § 12 paragraph...
              Write the number of the paragraph in § 12 UStG that qualifies you for a lower VAT. If you chose "Nein" in the previous field, leave this field empty.
            • Art des Umsatzes / der Tätigkeit - Type of revenue or activity
              The activity for which you want to charge a lower VAT. If you do not plan to charge less VAT, leave this field empty.

            Durchschnittssatzbesteuerung
            This only applies to agricultural and silvicultural businesses. If it does not apply to you, skip this subsection.

            • Es werden [...] Umsätze ausgeführt, die der Durchschnittssatzbesteuerung gemäß § 24 UStG unterliegen - Some revenue will be taxed according to § 24 UStG.
              Choose "Ja" if you want to charge taxes according to § 24 UStG. This only applies to agricultural and silvicultural businesses. If it does not apply to you, choose "Nein".

            Soll- / Istversteuerung der Entgelte
            You can choose to calculate VAT payments based on the revenue you should have (Sollversteuerung), or on your real revenue (Istversteuerung).

            • Ich berechne die Umsatzsteuer nach - I measure the VAT according to...
              • Sollversteuerung
                You make VAT payments based on the amounts you have invoiced, even if you haven't received the money yet.
              • Istversteuerung
                Check this box if you want to charge VAT based on the amount you actually have collected. You only make VAT payments once you receive money from your customers. If you are a freelancer or a small business, this is the
                best option for you1, 2, 3.
            • Ich beantrage die Istversteuerung, weil der [...] Gesamtumsatz für das Gründungsjahr den in § 20 Satz 1 Nummer 1 UStG genannten Betrag voraussichtlich nicht übersteigen wird.
              Check this box if you chose Istversteuerung, and you expect to make less than 600,000€ in revenue during your first year1.
            • Ich beantrage die Istversteuerung, weil ich von der Verpflichtung, Bücher zu führen und auf Grund jährlicher Bestandsaufnahmen regelmäßig Abschlüsse zu machen, nach § 148 AO befreit bin
              Check this box if you chose Istversteuerung, and you don't want to use double entry bookkeeping because of §148 AO. In other words, check this box if you think double entry bookkeeping would be too hard for your business.
            • Ich beantrage die Istversteuerung, weil ich Umsätze ausführe, für die ich als Angehöriger eines freien Berufs im Sinne von § 18 Abs. 1 Nr. 1 EStG weder buchführungspflichtig bin noch freiwillig Bücher führe
              Check this box if you chose Istversteuerung, and you don't want to use double entry bookkeeping because you are a Freiberufler.

            Umsatzsteuer-Identifikationsnummer
            Check this box if you want to get a VAT number.

            Steuerschuldnerschaft des Leistungsempfängers bei Bau- und/oder Gebäudereinigungsleistungen
            This subsections only applies if you are offering building cleaning services. If this subsection does not apply to you, leave it empty. If this subsection applies to you, ask a tax advisor about it.

            Section 18: Umsatzsteuerliche Organschaft (§ 2 Absatz 2 Nummer 2 UStG)

            If you are not declaring a business association or a business partnership, leave this line blank. If you think this section applies to you, ask a tax advisor about it.

            Section 19: Besonderes Besteuerungsverfahren "One-stop-shop"

            In this section, you can choose to establish a One Stop Shop (OSS) or Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS). The One Stop Shop makes it easier to sell things online to customers in other EU countries1. This guide explains how it works. If you don't have customers in other EU countries, you can skip this section.

            If you sell software on the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, you don't need to check this box. You are doing business with the app store, not with the customer, so it's a B2B transaction1, 2. You don't need to check this box. Online hotel bookings, restaurant reservations or other offline services sold through a website do not count as digital services1.

            If you are not sure, ask a tax advisor.

            Für im Inland ansässige Unternehmer
            This subsection is for businesses based in Germany.

            • Ich nehme das besondere Besteuerungsverfahren (Mini-one-stop-shop) in Anspruch [...]
              If you sell digital content (software, ebooks, apps) or digital services (web hosting, referrals, software as a service)1 to customers (not businesses) in other EU countries, you should probably check this box.
            • Ich habe keine Niederlassung in einem anderen EU-Mitgliedstaat und der Gesamtbetrag [...] der innergemeinschaftlichen Fernverkäufe [...] an [...] Nichtunternehmer überschreitet im laufenden Kalenderjahr nicht 10.000 Euro und hat dies auch im vorangegangenen Kalenderjahr nicht getan.
              Check this box if...
              • You sell digital content and services to customers (not businesses) in other EU countries
              • and the total revenue from those sales (without VAT) was under 10,000€/year this calendar year
              • and the total revenue from those sales (without VAT) was under 10,000€/year last calendar year
              • and you do not have a business branch in another country
            • Die entsprechenden Umsätze werde ich im Inland [...] versteuern - I will pay taxes in Germany for this revenue
            • Auf die Möglichkeit der Versteuerung der entsprechenden Umsätze im Inland verzichte ich für mindestens zwei Kalenderjahre [...] - I waive the option of taxing the corresponding domestic sales for at least two calendar years
            • Ich werde das besondere Besteuerungsverfahren (One-stop-shop) in Anspruch nehmen (§ 18j UStG) [...]
              Check this box if you want to declare a One Stop Shop (not a Mini One Stop Shop). This is new since summer 2021.
            • Die entsprechenden Umsätze werde ich direkt in den anderen EU-Mitgliedstaaten erklären - I will declare the corresponding sales directly in the other EU member states

            Für in einem anderen EU-Mitgliedsstaat ansässige Unternehmer
            This subsection is for businesses based in another EU country. This probably does not apply to you.

            Section 20: Umsätze im Bereich des Handels mit Waren über das Internet

            In this section, you explain if you will sell products and services online.

            • Ich verkaufe über einen eigenen Webshop - I sell on my own online store
            • Web-Adresse (URL)
              The URL of your online store
            • Ich werde über eine/mehrere elektronische Schnittstelle(n) im Sinne des § 25e Absatz 5 UStG handeln [...] - I will trade via an electronic interface according to § 25e Abs. 5 UStG
              Check this box if you will sell products or services on an online marketplace, online platform or online store. This includes platforms like Amazon and eBay.

            Elektronische Marktplätze - Electronic marketplaces
            In this section, you list the platforms on which you sell products and services, and your username on that platform.

            Section 21: Gesondert einzureichende Unterlagen

            In this section, you select the documents you will submit with your application.

                  Questions and answers

                  Is it hard to register a business in Germany?

                  Not if you have help. The registration form is all in German, and some questions are hard to answer. If you use Sorted, you can register your business in English, and the questions are simpler, but you still need to understand what you are doing. If you use a tax advisor, they do everything for you.

                  If you register a simple business, it's still easy to do it yourself.

                  Need help?

                  If you have questions about this form, ask a tax advisor for help. They can fill this form for you. You can find one in our list of English-speaking tax advisors in Berlin. If you can't afford a tax advisor, Sorted can help you fill this form in English for free.

                  The "Working and Living in Germany" hotline can also help you. It's a free, official hotline for people who moved to Germany. They speak English.

                  Related guide: Need help? (How to start a business)

                  What happens next?

                  In 4 to 6 weeks, you will receive your Steuernummer and VAT number (Umsatzsteuernummer) by mail1. Add these numbers to your invoices, and to your website's Impressum.

                  If you are starting a business in Germany, you should find a tax advisor. It's easier to run a business with a good tax advisor. You can also use tax software like Sorted, LexOffice or Debitoor to send invoices and make VAT declarations. Some banks like Kontist, Holvi and Penta can also make your accounting easier.

                  You must tell your health insurer that you are self-employed. When you are self-employed, you pay for health insurance with automatic bank transfers. The cost of public health insurance will be based on your estimated income. You can also switch to private health insurance. This is not a simple decision, but in some cases, private health insurance is a lot cheaper for freelancers. I save over 400€ per month this way. Talk to a health insurance broker about it.

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