Founding a company in Germany should start with a step-plan. It is a typical mistake that the future shareholders and directors of the companies think that they start founding a company as fast and good as they can, thinking, later on still everything can be worked out with the lawyer and tax consultant. Fixing these decisions will cost time and money. Another big mistake is to start as an entrepreneur because time is missing to build up a company. This will cause trouble because a later change from the entrepreneur status to a company will be very complicated. You might have to prepare an extra balance sheet and beside this you are full liable for everyting that might happen. Also, there is a lot of avoidable double work (bank account, registration trade register, registration local tax office and so on). Finally, it is a mistake to think that founding a company takes a lot of time. If your lawyer and tax consultant is familiar with founding situations he can advice right at the first meeting what direction is the best to go. He will have contacts to notaries that will make an appointment right away and he will know how to speed up registration. But most of all he will make with you a step-plan such as:
1. Founding company – Step one: Legal form
First, you decide which would be the best legal form by looking at the legal and the tax features. Already at this stage you should also consider future compliance costs.
2. Founding company – Step two: Contracts – Bank account – Registration trade office
Second, after finding an office place, you need to take care of the contracts (constitution of the company, appointment of the director), the bank account and the registration at the trade office.
3. Founding company – Step three: Registration at the local tax office
Third, you need to register at the local tax office. For this, you need to fill out a questionnaire. You will get this questionnaire automatically because the Notary will inform the tax office and the tax office will send it to you. But to safe time it is better to fill out the questionnaire in advance. You can download it. There are a few tricky points on this questionnaire. If you just guess you might end up with having to pay a large tax prepayment or do not get a VAT ID Number. Therefore, you should fill it out together with a tax consultant (if you are not in Germany at that time this can also be done via phone or by mails).