This is how you complete the trade registration (Gewerbeanmeldung), register for the trade tax (Gewerbesteuer), and receive a trade licence (Gewerbeschein) in Berlin.

When you start a business in Germany, you must get a trade licence before you register your business with the Finanzamt.

You can do this online. It takes around 1 hour and costs 15 to 26€. It's only in German, but it's very easy.

Who needs a Gewerbeschein?

Anyone who must to pay the trade tax (Gewerbesteuer). Freelancers and small businesses do not pay the trade tax.

Who must pay the Gewerbesteuer? ➞

Before you start

Get the required documents

You need a scan of your German residence permit. If you are a German or EU citizen, you don't need this.

Create a Berlin service account

Before you begin, you must create a Service-Konto Berlin. It only takes a few minutes.

How to fill the registration form

You must use the Single Point of Contact (Einheitlicher Ansprechpartner) tool to create a new case. You need a Berlin service account to use this tool.

▲ Log in with your Berlin service account.

▲ Click the Hier starten button on the Einheitlicher Ansprechpartner Berlin page.

▲ Click Neuen Fall starten.

▲ Accept the privacy policy

▲ Choose the type of business you want to register. In most cases, the answer is Gewerbe. Click Weiter to continue.

▲ Choose what you want to do. You want to register a business (Ein Gewerbe anmelden). Click Weiter to continue.

▲ Choose what you want to do. You want to register a business (Gewerbeanmeldung). Click Weiter to continue.

▲ Enter your street name (without the house number) to find your street. Next, enter your post code and house number. Click Weiter to continue.

▲ Fill your personal information:

  1. Title (Anrede)
  2. First name (Vorname)
  3. Last name (Nachname)
  4. Birth date (Geburtsdatum) — for example "23.09.1970"
  5. Street name (Straße) — for example "Musterstraße"
  6. House number (Hausnummer) — for example "123"
  7. Extra address information (Adresszusatz) — for example "c/o Max Mustermann"
  8. Location (Ort) — for example "Berlin"
  9. Country (Land) — for example "Deutschland"
  10. Phone number (Telefon) — for example +49301234567
  11. Fax number (Fax)

▲ Select your nationality. The next steps are different for each country. For some countries, you must prove that you have a valid residence permit.

Click Weiter to continue.

▲ The Ihr Zeichen field is for your case name. You can leave this field empty.

If you want a Single Point of Contact, choose Ja. A Single Point of Contact is a person who can answer your questions, and help you solve bureaucratic problems. More information here.

Click Weiter to continue.

▲ Click Hochladen to upload a copy of your residence permit. If you don't see this button, you can skip this step.

▲ Upload a scan of your residence permit. Click Weiter to continue.

▲ Click Ausfüllen to fill the Gewerbeanmeldung form. This is a digital version of the GewA1 form1. The questions are the same. You can find a lot of help for the GewA1 form on the internet.

▲ Choose the reason of your business registration. For a new business, choose Neugründung.

  • Start of operations (Tätigkeitsbeginn): When will you start your business activities? You can use the current date, or the date when you plan to start your business. If you already started your business, you can use a past date.
  • Announcement date (Anzeigedatum): The official date when your business is open.

Click Weiter to continue.

▲ Enter the name of your business, and what kind of business you do.

For the business description, be precise, not too precise1, 2. If this description changes, you must fill this form again. For example, don't write "sale of women's clothes", just "sale of clothes". This way, if you start to sell men's clothes, you don't need to change anything.

▲ Choose the nature of your business1.

  1. Choose the kind of registration:
    1. Hauptniederlassung: this is the main location of your business; your headquarters or head office. Most people should choose this option.
    2. Zweigniederlassung: this is an independent branch or regional office, not the main location. More information (in German).
    3. Unselbständige Zweigstelle: this is a dependant branch. More information (in German).
    4. Reisegewerbe: this is a business without a fixed location, like a travelling salesman1
  2. Choose the kind of business:
    1. Industry (Industrie): you make physical products in a factory
    2. Crafts (Handwerk): you are in a regulated craft, or to one of these non-regulated crafts. If you make physical products by hand, you are probably in this category.
    3. Commerce (Handel): if you sell products that other people make
    4. Other (Sonstiges): if you are not in the other categories, or you are not sure1
  3. Choose Ja if you are in the craft register (Handwerksrolle), and have a craft card (Handwerkskarte). This is only needed if you are in a regulated craft. More information here.
  4. Choose Ja if this is a side business (Nebenerwerb). Usually, this means that you will work less than 15 hours per week on this business1, 2.
  5. Enter the number of full time employees. The business owner does not count. If you have no employees, write "0".
  6. Enter the number of part time employees. The business owner does not count. If you have no employees, write "0".

Click Weiter to continue.

▲ Enter information about the business owner.

  • Doctorate (Doktorgrad)
  • First name (Vorname)
  • Last name (Nachname)
  • Gender (Geschlecht)
  • Birth name (Geburtsname)
  • Birth date (Geburtstag)
  • City where you were born (Geburtsort)
  • Country where you were born (Geburtsland)
  • Nationality (Staatsangehörigkeit)
  • Street name where you live (Straße)
  • House number (Hausnummer)
  • House number (Hausnummer bis): if your address has multiple house numbers (like "Kuglerstraße 10-14"), enter the last number here.
  • Extra address information (Adresszusatz)
  • Country (Land)
  • Post code (Postleitzahl) — for example "13127"
  • Phone number (Telefon Nummer) — for example "+49-1522-123456"
  • Fax number (Telefax Nummer) — for example "+49-1522-123456"
  • Email (E-Mail)
  • Website (Homepage) — for example ""
  • Liegt eine Erlaubnis for?: Choose Ja if you need special permits for your business. For example, if you are a doctor, an architect or a civil engineer, or if you open a restaurant.

Click Weiter to continue.

▲ Enter information about your residence permit. This section is for people who need a residence permit to start a business in Berlin.

  • Issued on (Ausgestellt am): The day you received your residence permit.
  • Issuing authority (Ausstellende Behörde): The embassy, consulate or Ausländerbehörde that gave you the residence permit.
  • Post code of the issuing authority (Postleitzahl)
  • City of the issuing authority (Ort)
  • Choose Ja if your residence permit has special conditions.
  • Restrictions (Auflagen): Enter the restrictions written on your residence permit.

Click Weiter to continue.

▲ Enter information about your business location.

  • Extra address information (Adresszusatz)
  • Phone number (Telefon Nummer)
  • Fax number (Fax Nummer)
  • Email (E-Mail)
  • Website (Homepage)

Click Weiter to continue

▲ Click Ausfüllen to fill the Identitätserklärung form. This only takes a minute.

▲ Tick the box, and click Weiter to continue

▲ Click Jetzt einreichen to submit your case.

Other ways to register

With eMeldung

You can also do the Gewerbeanmeldung with eMeldung. It's on the same website, and it does the same thing. The form is almost the same, but you don't need a Berlin Service Account.

With a paper form

If you don't want to register your business online, you can fill the GewA1 form and send it to the local Ordnungsamt. Registering online is faster, but there are dozens of guides that explain how to fill the paper form.

With a tax advisor

You can also ask a tax advisor to register the business for you. This is the easiest way, but it's more expensive. A tax advisor can also register your business with the Finanzamt, and take care of your taxes. It saves a lot of time.

Useful link: List of English-speaking tax advisors in Berlin

Need help?

Where to find help ➞ Business questions

What's next?

You finished an important step of starting a business in Germany. You are now registered for the trade tax (Gewerbesteuer). You will soon receive your trade certificate (Gewerbeschein).

The next step is to register your business with the Finanzamt.

Related guides: