Skip to content

Business deregistration Germany

  • 7 min read

Key Points

  • Deregistering a business in Germany involves submitting a deregistration request to the relevant trade office.
  • The process requires providing company details, tax numbers, and reasons for deregistration in the correct form.
  • Deregistration can take 4-6 weeks to complete after submitting all required documents.
  • Only a few offices offer online deregistration, as most municipalities only accept a submission of the documents in person or via post.

For many entrepreneurs, moving abroad is an exciting opportunity to tap into new markets and gain international experience. But before you can pack your bags in Germany and continue doing business in your new location abroad, there are important administrative tasks to complete. One of the most critical measures is to deregister your business in Germany. In this blog post, you will find out what steps you need to take to deregister your business, which authorities you need to inform and which legal aspects have to be considered.

Deregistering your business – how it works

When you leave Germany, it is not always necessary to deregister your business. It makes sense to ask your tax advisor about the various options before giving up your business for good.

Tip: Don’t try to save money in the wrong places! When it comes to taxes or setting up a company abroad, it makes sense to seek individual advice to benefit from tax advantages. So before you decide to deregister, talk to your accountant to everything you have to know. Our partners at Staatenlos.ch, for example, specialize in helping digital nomads, expats, and perpetual travelers set up tax-efficient companies abroad.

Who has to deregister their business?

In Germany, a company needs to be deregistered if one of the following applies

  • You want to give up or cease your business completely.
  • You are moving your place of business or a branch to a new location outside the municipality.
  • You change the legal form of your business.

How can I deregister my business?

Fill in the form: You can get the business deregistration form from the trade office, and it is often available online. Fill it in and sign it.

Send the documents: Submit the form along with your trade license, identity card and, if you are moving abroad, your confirmation of registration. This can be done in person, by post or online.

Inform the authorities: The trade office will inform the tax office, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Chamber of Crafts, the registry court and the Employers’ Liability Insurance Association of the deregistration.

If you need help with the deregistration of your business, you are welcome to book our service.

Which documents are needed?

Wenn du nicht in der Lage bist, dein Gewerbe persönlich abzumelden, hast du die Möglichkeit, eine Vollmacht zu erteilen.

Many trade offices offer informal business deregistration. The entrepreneur must bring the following documents to the business deregistration:

  • Trade license
  • Current confirmation of registration
  • Identity card or passport
  • If applicable, a copy of the extract from the commercial, co-operative, or association register.

Depending on the type of business, the authorities may require further documents. You can find out exactly what these are on the website of the respective authority.

Business deregistration alternatives:

If you would like to resume your business at a later date, it makes sense to submit a suspension declaration to the tax office instead of deregistering your business. This suspends the business for an indefinite period of time without any licenses expiring. During this suspension declaration, you are exempt from trade-specific obligations and can resume the business without any problems.

Key points:

  • Moving within the municipality: In this case, a business registration at the new location is sufficient.
  • In many cities, business deregistration is free of charge – otherwise, the processing fees are between €20 and €25.
  • Partial cessation of activity: This can be reported voluntarily by deregistering the business.
  • Continuation of the business in Germany: In this case, no business deregistration is required.

According to § 14 GewO, all changes, including the cessation of the trade, must be reported immediately to the competent authority. However, more and more local authorities are now allowing online business deregistration.

Die Abmeldung des Gewerbes bedeutet auch, dass alle damit verbundenen Lizenzen erlöschen

Online Business Deregistration

Deregistering your business is easy. Forms are available from the trade offices or can be downloaded from their website. The form can be completed and signed at home, which saves time on site. Many cities now also offer online deregistration.

Usually, there are no fees and the authorities automatically report the deregistration to other bodies such as the tax office, chamber of commerce and professional association. Entries in the commercial, cooperative, or association register must be cancelled separately by a notary.

If you need help, you can book our service. However, it is often best to communicate directly with your trade office.

Checklist for business deregistration, Germany

Deregister your business with the competent authority (online deregistration is typically possible in the municipality).

  • If you are closing down your business: Inform customers and suppliers in good time and cancel contracts (telephone and internet contracts, insurance contracts, leases and associated energy contracts, advertising contracts, bank accounts, powers of attorney).
  • Set up a mail forwarding order or digital mailbox if the company moves to a new address.
  • Delete or update the company website
  • If necessary, cancel GEZ and GEMA fees (depending on the business)
  • Sell the business in the most advantageous way possible

Self-employed people: deregistration of a freelance activity

The main difference between freelance and commercial activities lies in the type of activity carried out: freelancers generally provide scientific, artistic, literary, teaching or educational services and are not subject to trade tax, whereas tradespeople carry out commercial, craft or industrial activities and are subject to trade tax.

To deregister a freelance activity, you must therefore contact your local tax office.

Abmeldung eines Gewerbes - so gehst du vor

Follow these steps:

Complete the form: Get the deregistration form for freelance work. You can usually find this form on the website of your local tax office.

Submit the form: Send the completed form to your local tax office. This can usually be done by post, in person or online, depending on the options available at your tax office.

Income tax return: Submit a final income tax return detailing your income and expenses up to the end date of the activity.

Reporting to other authorities: If necessary, inform other relevant authorities or bodies, such as social security institutions or occupational pension schemes, of the termination of your freelance work.

Wait for confirmation: Wait for confirmation from the tax office that your freelance work has been deregistered.

Bei Unklarheiten wendest du dich am besten direkt an das zuständige Finanzamt oder deinen Steuerberater. Wenn du dich gar nicht um die Abmeldung deiner freiberuflichen Tätigkeit kümmern möchtest, kannst du gern unseren Service buchen.

Anne

Anne

Anne grows company awareness threw various online/ social media channels. Further to this, she manages editorial planning and execution.

Tags: