Costs of maintaining a company in Germany in 2024

| Last update: 07.03.2024

It is good to know all the costs that come with the incorporation process of a company in Germany – but it is not enough. You should also know what fees and costs to expect after your company is launched. We have collated all the expenses that you can expect when you run a limited liability company (GmbH or UG) in Germany – even though the company is not actually active.

After a successful incorporation process the shareholders and executive directors can finally relax. The company is officially registered, the local tax office has provided the company's Tax ID and VAT number and you have received your EORI number as well. Ideally, the first customers appear and slowly but surely the company starts to function as it should. However you cannot forget about the fees and costs required to sustain your company. There are some costs that do not depend on the company's activities and we collect them for you.

Maintaining costs of a company in Germany

Chamber membership fees (IHK and HWK)

Every company that is registered in Germany will automatically get membership of one or both of the local chambers. For the GmbH and UG that is the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry the so called "Industrie- und Handelskammer (IHK)". Those companies that pursue crafts’ activities and manual labour (e.g. blacksmith, carpenter, cleaning companies) must join the local “Handwerkskammer” (HWK) chamber as well. In case the above mentioned German company is not active, or has low income, the company could be absolved of paying the membership by the HWK, but not by the IHK.

The IHK membership fee varies from city to city. The local chambers decide on the amount of the fee every year. In 2024 it averages between 30 and 350 EUR for small businesses and non-active companies as well.

Chamber of Commerce Yearly fee
IHK Berlin from 64 EUR
IHK Frankfurt am Main from 180 EUR
IHK für München und Oberbayern from 120 EUR
IHK Nürnberg für Mittelfranken from 120 EUR

Broadcasting contribution the so called "Rundfunkbeitrag"

Currently, the controversial “Rundfunkbeitrag” finances the German public media. This fee has to be paid by every household and company that has a German branch. The exact amount will be calculated based on the number of your company's branches, employees and cars. The base fee in 2024 is 6,12 EUR per month for one branch, one employee and zero company car. Good to know that if your company is registered in your private home, where you already pay the broadcasting contribution, you can get a release of payment from Rundfunkbeitrag for your company. You can calculate your current fee here:

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Monthly accounting in Germany

In Germany, GmbH (Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung) and UG (Unternehmergesellschaft) company owners are obliged to adhere to stringent accounting tasks, including meticulous financial record-keeping, annual financial statements preparation, and timely tax filings, all conducted under the close scrutiny of the German Commercial Code (Handelsgesetzbuch - HGB) and tax laws to ensure transparency and regulatory compliance.

The monthly bookkeeping tasks are:

  • Assigning the invoices to the monthly cash flow (accounting)
  • Submitting the monthly or quarterly VAT declaration, which depends on the amount you have to pay on VAT in 1 year to the tax office
  • Employee registration and monthly payroll calculation
  • monitoring the company's finances.

In order to avoid delays in tax payments, we recommend the use of the so-called SEPA direct debit. This is an authorisation that you give to the tax authorities so that they can debit the taxes due from your companies account on time.

The tax system in Germany is one of the most complex and changeable in the European Union. This is why it is very important to rely on a professional accountant in Germany. How should you choose a good and reliable tax expert? Before the first meeting ask the accountancy company to provide the document about its chamber membership (Steuerberaterkammer). Every accountancy company must have this document.

Some accountants work on an hourly fee rate, while others have a fixed monthly fee.

Running costs of a company in Germany

We have summarized the most important issues again in a short video:

Preparing the financial statement

Preparation of the annual financial statement incurs expenses every year. Unfortunately, many forget about these and the accountants are no exception. It is obligatory for every GmbH and UG in Germany to prepare a financial statement every year. This has to contain the following information:

  • Summary of annual accounting
  • Balance sheet of the business year (Schlussbilanz)
  • Local business tax declaration (Gewerbesteuererklärung)
  • Corporate tax declaration (Körperschaftssteuererklärung)
  • VAT declaration (Umsatzsteuererklärung)

The companies must provide the completed balance sheet for the so-called Unternehmensregister. According to the German commercial law (HGB) small businesses are not obligated to publish the above mentioned documents, but obligated to store them in Unternehmensregister. Thus, the balance sheets provided by small businesses will be visible to other parties after paying for that. But these visible informations are less detailed then in case of larger enterprises.

It is difficult to forecast the cost of the preparation of the annual account. The total amount varies from the balance sheet, the amount and sum-total of invoices in the year and the time spent by the accountant in the preparation of the financial statement. You should calculate between 800 EUR and 2,500 EUR for this in the first few years after the incorporation. The fee of Unternehmensregister which is between 20-50 EUR is included in this amount in the first year annual closure.

The good news is that you have approximately 12 months to prepare the annual financial statement. This means that the annual closure of 2024 must be completed and sent to the Bundesanzeiger by 31 December 2025.

Transparency Registration

Since 1st August 2021, all new companies must be entered in the Transparency Register with immediate effect.

The Transparency Register is published by the Bundesanzeiger Verlag and is an important tool in Europe to give the public more information about who controls which entities.

The annual fee for the Transparency Register has to be paid together with the Unternehmensregister fee when you publish your financial yearly statement.

Registered business address

In case you have your own office or your company registered to your home address in Germany you do not have to calculate the fee of registered office service renting. Generally, the cost of a registered office service averages between 150 and 350 EUR in 2024.