Gesellschafterliste: Everything you need to know about the shareholder list of the GmbH or UG

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Gesellschafterliste: What does the shareholder list look like?

The Gesellschafterliste (shareholder list) is a list that shows all the Anteilseigner (shareholders) of a company and how much of the company they own. It is kept as an annexe to the Handelsregister (commercial register) entry. The UG is a special form of GmbH, so the shareholder lists for both types of companies are the same. There are no formal differences between the shareholder lists of the two companies, as the UG is a special form of the GmbH, which is why the UG is often referred to as a kleine GmbH (small limited liability company).

The GmbH Act defines what information must be included in the list. Each shareholder must provide the following data per Section 40 (1) GmbHG:

  • Vor- und Nachname
    First name and surname
  • Geburtsdatum
    Date of birth
  • Wohnsitz
  • Nennbetrag und laufende Nummern des Geschäftsanteils
    Nominal amount and serial numbers of the share (i.e., the face value and consecutive numbers of the share.)
  • Prozentuale Beteiligung am StammkapitalPercentage share in the share capital (i.e., percentage participation in the share capital.)
  • If a shareholder holds multiple shares: Specify the total extent of the participation (shareholding) in the share capital as a separate percentage.

These details need to be provided when the owners are individuals (natural persons). If the owner is another company (a legal entity that is not a natural person), more information is required.

Kapitalgesellschaften & eingetragene* Gesellschaften
(corporations & registered* businesses)

  • Liste zugehöriger Firmen
    List of associated companies
  • Satzungssitz
    Registered office
  • Registergericht und Registernummer
    Register court and register number

Nicht-eingetragene* Gesellschaften
(non-registered* businesses)

  • Vornamen, Namen, Wohnort & Geburtsdaten der Gesellschafter
    First name, last name, place of residence & date of birth of the shareholders
  • Prozentuale Beteiligung am Stammkapital
    Percentage of share capital


*The term ‘eingetragene* Gesellschaften‘ (‘registered’) refers to an entry in the Handelsregister (commercial register). This includes:

  • Unternehmergesellschaften (UG),
  • Gesellschaften mit beschränkter Haftung (GmbH),
  • Aktiengesellschaften (AG),
  • Offene Handelsgesellschaften (OHG),
  • the hybrid forms GmbH & Co. KG, GmbH & Co. OHG, UG & Co. KG, UG & Co. OHG, and
  • the nonprofit forms gUG and gGmbH.

Conversely, ‘nicht-eingetragene Gesellschaften (non-registered businesses) are not entered in the commercial register. These include:

  • Gesellschaften des bürgerlichen Rechts (GbR),
  • Kommanditgesellschaften (KG),
  • Partnerschaftsgesellschaften (PartG), and
  • Partnerschaftsgesellschaften mit beschränkter Berufshaftung (PartG mbB for short and means partnerships with limited professional liability).


Gesellschafterliste: Who must create the list?

The list of shareholders is a mandatory part of starting a limited liability company in Germany. When registering with the commercial register, a list of all shareholders, signed by the Geschäftsführer (managing director), is required (according to § 8 paragraph 1 sentence 3 GmbHG).

Tip: Check out this post to learn when it’s the right time to register your UG or GmbH with the commercial register and what you need to consider.

Does a notary have to create the list?

Many founders and entrepreneurs may not know that they can draw up the list of shareholders themselves. It’s not a legal requirement to have a notary do it.

Founders can choose whether to have the notary draw up the list or to do it themselves. As set out by the GNotKG (notary fees act), it costs at least €96 to have a notary create a list of shareholders. (FYI: If there is a change of shareholder, the amended list costs at least €62.50). Alternatively, you can make the list yourself and save this money.

Tip: If you establish a UG or GmbH using the Musterprotokoll, you use a template instead of drafting your articles of association from scratch. This means you don’t need to do anything extra as the template includes a Gesellschafterliste (shareholder list).


Gesellschafterliste: What does the list have to include?

If you want to keep your incorporation costs down, preparing a list of shareholders yourself is a good idea. To avoid delays due to mistakes in the list of shareholders, you should be careful. Use the template. You will find a detailed template for the following scenarios:

  • Der Gesellschafter ist eine natürliche Person.
    The shareholder is a different registered company.
  • Der Gesellschafter ist eine andere, eingetragene Gesellschaft.
    The shareholder is a natural person.
  • Der Gesellschafter ist eine nicht-eingetragene Gesellschaft.
    The shareholder is an unregistered company.

Below download a sample Gesellschafterliste (shareholder list) PDF.

Sample Gesellschafterliste (shareholder list) for a GmbH/UG


2017 legislative change: Implementation of the Money Laundering Act

In June 2017, new legislation came into force that has a direct impact on the information required in the shareholder list:

  • the law on the implementation of the EU Money Laundering Directive,
  • the implementation of the EU Money Transfers Regulation,
  • and the reorganisation of the Zentralstelle für Finanztransaktionsuntersuchungen (central financial transactions investigation unit/financial intelligence unit).

What new information do you have to provide since the change in the law?

What is new is the information on the percentage shareholding of the shareholders and the detailed information on the companies involved. These requirements are reflected in the pdf above.

Note: Always check for updates to the structure of the list of shareholders. The Bundesministerium für Justiz (ministry of justice) can issue new rules.

 Why has the government expanded the information required?

Implementing the EU Directive aims to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. One of the ways it’s being pursued is the creation of an electronic Transparenzregister (transparency register). This register requires legal entities and registered partnerships to disclose information about the ultimate “beneficial owners” (wirtschaftlich Berechtigte in German) and to report updates immediately. Most importantly, it forces companies to be more transparent, making it harder to hide criminal activity behind corporate structures. In particular, the public disclosure of information on holding companies makes using Briefkastenfirmen (letterbox companies/shell companies) more difficult. This law has been bolstered with high penalties. For example, not registering or reporting false information can lead to a fine of up to €100,000. Logo (transparent)

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Gesellschafterliste: When is a shareholder list required for UGs and GmbHs?

Forming the company

If you’re setting up a UG or a GMbH without using the Musterprotokoll (model protocol/standardised articles of association), you’ll need to make a shareholder list. Your notary will then send this list, together with the articles of association, to the appropriate registry court.

Changes to shareholders or shareholdings

Whenever the structure of the UG or GmbH changes, the shareholder list needs to be updated. The company management is responsible for submitting this updated list.

The following situations, for example, require an update of the existing list of shareholders:

  • Gesellschafterwechsel
    Change of shareholder
  • Anteilsübertragung
    Share transfer
  • Zusammenlegung oder Teilung von Geschäftsanteilen
    Consolidation or division of shares
  • Stammkapitalerhöhungen oder -herabsetzungen
    Share capital increases or decreases
  • Erbfall

The updated list must be sent to the Handelsregister (commercial register) without delay. The commercial register must be kept up to date to protect creditors and inform the public. If a company fails to do so, the management is jointly responsible for any loss suffered by the company’s creditors.

Failure to file, late filing or providing incorrect information are considered breaches of this duty.


Notarisation requirement

Events involving changes to the shareholder list usually require the involvement of a notary. This means the management does not have to inform the competent registry court separately. Notaries are required by law to transmit notarised changes to a registered (incorporated) company to the Handelsregister (commercial register). At the same time, they must ensure that the information in the register is correct.

In general, notarisation is not required in matters of inheritance, division of shares or mergers. In these cases, the management must immediately submit a correct list of shareholders directly to the Registergericht (registry court).

Important: This obligation also applies during insolvency proceedings!

Changes to the personal details of shareholders

If a shareholder’s name changes due to marriage or divorce, the Gesellschafterliste (shareholder list) must be updated. The same applies if the name of a participating company changes. Changes of address only need to be reported if the new address is outside the previous municipality.

Note: You no longer need to submit an annual declaration in which the company confirms that there are no changes which need to be reported.


Gesellschafterliste: How do I submit the list?

The shareholder list is always sent electronically. There are various regulations on document formats and encryption at the state level. To find out what the latest rules are, check with the Handelsregister.

Who must sign the list?

Geschäftsführer (managing directors) must sign the shareholder list and any updates. This is because if a notary draws up the list, the notary’s signature alone may not be sufficient for the commercial register. The courts have taken different views, but better to err on the side of caution.

Gesellschafterliste: Where can I get or view an official shareholder list?

The shareholder list of a UG or GmbH can be viewed via the online portal of the commercial register. A small fee is charged for viewing the so-called Ausdruck (printout) of the commercial register entry (sometimes referred to as the older term Handelsregisterauszug in Germany), including the appendix. There is a sign-up process to view the list.
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Andreas Munck

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Got questions about setting up a business in Germany?

  • Startup expert
  • 10+ years experience

Hi, I’m Andreas and I’ve been advising businesses in Germany for over a decade. I’d be happy to call you and answer any questions you have in a one-on-one consultation.


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