What is a Handelsregisternummer?

When you start a business and list it in the German Trade Register (Handelsregister), you get a Handelsregisternummer.

Some businesses have no Handelsregisternummer, because they are not in the Handelsregister.

What does the Registernummer look like?

The Handelsregisternummer has the format HRA 12345 or HRB 12345:

  • HRA is for a sole proprietorship (Einzelunternehmen), and HRB is for an incorporated company (Kapitalgesellschaft).1
  • 12345 is the unique number of this business.
  • There is sometimes an extra letter. For example, HRB 247469 B.

Handelsregisternummer examples:

  • N26 bank: HRB 247469 B
  • Coup: HRB 178881 B
  • SAP: HRA 350654

Who needs a Handelsregister entry?

Most companies must be listed in the Handelsregister and get a Handelsregisternummer, but there are exceptions.

You must have a Handelsregister entry if…2

  • You are not a freelancer (Freiberufler)
  • and you are not a sole proprietor (Einzelunternehmer)
  • and you are not a company constituted under civil law (GbR)
  • and you are not a Kleingewerbe
    A Kleingewerbe is a small-scale sole proprietorship. For example, a business with a single address, few employees, few clients, and simple bookkeeping.3 There is no precise definition.4 If your sole proprietorship is a large commercial business, you need a Handelsregister entry.

You must have a Handelsregister entry to form a GmbH, UG, AG, e. K., oHG, KG, or GmbH & Co. KG.6

A Handelsregister entry has some benefits, but it mostly means more effort and more paperwork. Avoid it if you can.5

How do I get a Handelsregisternummer?

You must list your business in the Handelsregister. You can ask for this when you fill the Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung in ELSTER.

How to fill the Fragebogen zur steuerlichen Erfassung

Where do I find a company’s Registernummer?

  • On the imprint (Impressum) page of their website. All commercial websites in Germany have this page. There is usually a link to the Impressum at the bottom of every page.
  • By searching for it in an online registry.

Need help?

Where to ask business questions

Sources and footnotes
  1. berlin.de, unternehmen24.info 

  2. lexware.de, fuer-gruender.de 

  3. nwb.de, lexware.de 

  4. firma.de 

  5. selbststaendig-machen.net, Suat Göydeniz (December 2023) 

  6. fuer-gruender.de