Register and Directories
Larger companies must have an entry in the commercial register, depending on:
• level of revenue
• number and qualifications of employees
• variety of services offered
• business relationships
However, you may also have your company entered in the commercial register voluntarily. Extensive information on this topic and corresponding online services are provided on the common register portal of the German federal government and the state governments.
Common Register Portal
On the common register portal of the German federal states you will find the commercial registers, registers of cooperatives and partnerships and in part the association registers of all the federal states in Germany, as well as announcements for the registers (publications). The German judiciary allows the commercial registers of all German federal states to be examined at any time through this register portal.
You may search for specific registered companies or individual companies, even if you do not know the register number. The content of the registers is provided in various forms as a PDF document and may be saved and printed out.
Current printouts in particular are offered, with an overview of all currently valid entries, as well as chronological printouts with all data since the changeover to electronic register management and historic printouts with all data that was valid prior to the changeover to electronic register management.
Other Registers and Directories
On this page, the insolvency courts of the Federal Republic of Germany publish details of the announcements that are required when insolvency proceedings are requested from a court.
In the company register of the German Federal Ministry of Justice, excerpts from the registers and in part also the accounts of legal entities may be viewed.
Since 2015, as part of the EU VAT package, VAT will be charged for certain services in the country in which the end consumer is based. The special regulations of the Mini One-Stop Shop that came into effect on 1 January 2015 allow companies based in Germany to declare the revenue they have generated in other member states of the European Union, if it is subject to this special regulation, on a special tax declaration which may be submitted centrally and by electronic means to the German Federal Central Tax Office, and to pay the resulting taxes as an overall sum.
The German Central Register of Companies is maintained by the German Federal Ministry of Justice. The German Federal Ministry of Justice provides information to private persons and legal entities residing/based outside of the Federal Republic of Germany. Private persons and legal entities residing/based in the Federal Republic of Germany generally obtain information from the competent registration authority or trade licensing authority. An excerpt from the German Central Register of Companies is required, for example, if you want to set up in business in the security industry. The competent registration authority or trade licensing authority can be found using the Responsibility Finder. With a new ID, you may also request an excerpt online from the German Central Register of Companies.
Certificates of conduct, among other things, are issued from the German Federal Central Criminal Register. This is something that will be required, for example, if you want to set up in business in the security industry. Private persons and legal entities residing/based in the Federal Republic of Germany generally obtain information from the competent registration authority or trade licensing authority.
In North Rhine-Westphalia, the land registries are maintained by the local courts. The competent local court for your municipality can be found using the Responsibility Finder or through the Directory of Places and Courts in the portal of the justice authorities of the German federal government and state governments.
The installation register of the Bundesnetzagentur documents the registration of installations that generate electricity from renewable energy sources and mine gas in accordance with the German Renewable Energy Sources Act [Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz, EEG]. Registrations or reports must be submitted to the Bundesnetzagentur.
The German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) provides a range of information and applications: official publications and registers for patents, utility models, trademarks and designs, an electronic patent document archive, online filing of intellectual property applications, a register of out-of-print works, etc.
Applications to be entered in the German Aircraft Register and for the issuance of certificates of airworthiness must be submitted to the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt (LBA).
The location register of the locations of areas for the release and cultivation of genetically modified organisms (GMO) is maintained by the German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL).
In order to ensure proper production of construction products, it may be a requirement that companies engage the services of testing, inspection and/or certification bodies or of testing laboratories and/or (product) certification bodies. These may need to be approved bodies, depending on their legal area. A list of approved bodies is provided on the website of the Deutsches Institut für Bautechnik.
This English website allows you to search for companies listed in the English register (e.g. limited companies). This service is free.
This database provided in several languages includes all measures related to EU customs tariff, commercial and agricultural legislation. TARIC ensures uniform application in all EU member states and gives all economic operators a clear view of the measures to be taken when importing goods into the EU or exporting goods from the EU.
Directories of Professions
The database of the German Chamber of Patent Attorneys allows you to find all licensed patent attorneys in Germany.
The Wirtschaftsprüferkammer (WPK) maintains a federal and public professional register of all public auditors, sworn auditors and firms of sworn auditors.
You may use this register maintained by the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) to find all registered insurance brokers.
On the website of the Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer, you may search for all licensed lawyers in Germany, for European lawyers licensed to work in Germany, lawyers from other countries who are established in Germany in accordance with Section 206 of the German Federal Lawyers Act [Bundesrechtsanwaltsordnung, BRAO] and all legal advisors who are members of a Bar.
A list of sworn, officially appointed and authorised translators and interpreters is provided on the portal of the justice authorities of the federal and state governments.
Certain legal services may only be provided by persons with proper qualifications that have been verified by a competent law court. The legal services register lists these registered persons.
The tax consultant directory of the Steuerberaterkammer Hessen allows you to search for tax consultants by their city, post code, telephone area code, area of work or knowledge of particular industries or foreign languages.