What are the notary fees for forming a UG in Germany?

updated on 18. April 2019 17 minutes reading time
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Two of the most important steps on the way to forming a limited-liability UG are arranging your notary appointment and getting entered into the commercial register (Handelsregister). Get get a handle on the costs with this firma.de guide on notary fees for forming a UG.

The UG, or Unternehmergesellschaft in German, is not a legal company form in and of itself. It is legally considered a special type of GmbH, or Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung – one of the reasons why UGs are sometimes called ‘mini GmbHs‘ (German article). The legal framework for UGs is therefore contained in the laws governing GmbHs.

In addition to their limited-liability status, there are also many parallels between the two legal company forms when it comes to the founding process and costs. Like GmbHs, UGs must have their founding documents notarised. And, the notary fees for forming a UG and GmbH are regulated by German law (Gerichts- und Notarkostengesetz, or GNotKG).

UG notary fees: Forming a UG with a unique shareholder contract/articles of association

Formation component UG (one shareholder) UG (more than one founder)
Share capital
(Stammkapital)
up to approx. €7,000 up to approx. €7,000
Formation fees 
Notarisation of the shareholder contract and managing director appointments €375.00 €384.00
Execution fee (notarial list of shareholders) €96.00 €96.00
Handelsregister application
Preparation of the Handelsregister application €62.50 €62.50
Administrative fee €62.50 €62.50
XML structure data preparation €37.50 €37.50
Additional costs
Fixed fees for mail and telecommunication¹ €30.00 €30.00
Fixed documentation fees¹²
(copies, prints, scans, files)
€22.00 €22.00
Notary fees (net) €685.50* €694.50*
Notary fees (19% VAT incl.) €815.75* €826.46*

UG notary fees: Forming a UG with a Musterprotokoll/standard contract

Formation component UG (one shareholder) UG (more than one founder)
Share capital
(Stammkapital)
up to approx. €7,000 up to approx. €7,000
Formation fees  
Notarisation of the
Shareholder contract
€60.00 €120.00
Handelsregister application
Preparation of the Handelsregister application €30.00 €30.00
Administrative fee €15.00 €15.00
XML structure data preparation €15.00 €15.00
Additional costs
Fixed fees for mail and telecommunication¹ €23.00 €27.00
Fixed documentation fees¹²

(copies, prints, scans, files)

€5.00 €5.00
Notary fees (net) €148.00* €212.00*
Notary fees (19% VAT incl.) €176.12* €252.28* 

Sources: IHK Berlin [PDF], firma.de statistics derived from notary invoices (as of December 2018)

*All figures are average prices and may vary from case to case. They are based on a Gerichts- und Notarkostengesetz fee chart as well as our own calculations from notary invoices from across Germany. This example assumes one managing director and a share capital amount under €7,000. If the amount of share capital exceeds €7,000, the fees increase by approximately €60. Additional managing directors or a greater object value can influence the multipliers and fixed costs that form the basis of these fees.

¹ Average sum of both fixed costs (notarising the founding documents and the commercial register application)

² Average value, billed per page

 

What factors determine how high the notary fees are for forming a UG?

Notary fees and expenses are determined by law, regulated by the GNotKG since 2013. According to § 17 of the German Notarial Code (Bundesnotarordnung), your notary is obligated to charge the legally mandated fees for their services. Many costs are based on your business model; the amount of share capital, the number of shareholders and any requests for special provisions can influence your notary’s fee calculation.

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Tip: When calculating possible fees, keep in mind that small adjustments and modifications can change the basis on which the fees are calculated. There is a rate for almost all expense items that can be adjusted according to the aspect of company formation in question. The notary of your choice may also include additional invoice items. Make sure to create a reserve budget for such cases when planning the founding of your UG.

Notary invoices: An overview of expense items

What expense items comprise a typical notary invoice? The many different cost points can often lead to confusion. Take advantage of the following glossary for a clear overview:

Handelsregister application

Only notarised applications are accepted by district courts (Amtsgericht). This means that your application must go through your notary. Changes such as modifications to the list of shareholders or managing directors or the termination of business operations must be reported. To apply, your notary will need the following information:

  • Company name and contact information
  • Legal company form
  • Purpose and object of the UG
  • Amount of share capital
  • Details on powers of representation

NB: If you create a website, your Handelsregisternummer number and the details of your competent registry court (Registergerichts) must be included in the website’s legal disclosure, or Impressum in German (German article)

Entry in the Handelsregister

All corporations and merchants must obtain a Handelsregister entry from their competent registry court. The register serves the public by providing information on a business’s economic circumstances. The registry court charges €150 to enter a UG into the commercial register. This fee must be paid separately.

The registry court will send the invoice to the business address you provided. Make sure that your UG’s company name is on the mailbox. If the invoice is returned to the sender, your Handelsregister entry will be delayed, unnecessarily extending the duration of the formation process.

Founders beware: As soon as your UG becomes visible in the commercial register, you may receive invoices with letterheads imitating that of the commercial register. Do not pay these invoices! Many founders pay up without finding out exactly who issued the invoices in order to quickly finish forming their business. Protect yourself and take a careful look at the invoice. If the invoice amount differs from the usual €150, you are certainly being scammed. Generally, sending such a letter is not illegal because your company information has been made public in a register. If you have already paid the invoice, there is little chance you’ll be able to get your money back. Report any suspicious invoices to the relevant district court.

XML files: Preparation and transmission

According to no. 22125 of the cost index provided by the Gerichts- und Notarkostengesetz (GNotKG), your notary can charge a fee for the preparation of so-called structure data in Extensible Markup Language (XML) format. This format allows for automated further processing.

Contract notarisation

If you opt to form your company with standardised ‚articles of association‘ called a Musterprotokoll in German, you only need to have that contract notarised. If you want (or have to) form your company with a customised contract instead of a standard one, that contract must be prepared by a notary or a lawyer. A limited-liability UG’s contract outlines the main responsibilities and rights of its shareholders.

You can opt to use a Musterprotokoll when your UG fulfils the following criteria:

  • There is at least one shareholder but no more than three
  • There is only one managing director
  • You don’t wish to include any special provisions that aren’t already included in the text of the Musterprotokoll

Tip: Always consult with a notary or a lawyer to avoid missing any legal details. You can always replace the standard contract with a unique one, even after your UG has been formed.

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Managing director appointments

If the UG has more than one shareholder, a managing director must be appointed. It is also possible to appoint more than one managing director. All provisions must be laid out in the UG’s contract/articles of association (Gesellschaftsvertrag or Gesellschaftervertrag in German).

Usually, the managing director is appointed based on a majority vote by the UG’s shareholders. If the UG only has one founding shareholder, that shareholder may appoint themselves as the managing director. The notary then comes into play to notarise the appointment. Naturally, you’ll incur fees for the notarisation.

Tip: Verbal agreements are possible, but not recommended.

Preparing the list of shareholders (Gesellschafterliste)

The preparation and notarisation of a list of the Gesellschafterliste are only necessary when there are multiple founding shareholders (German article). 

Share capital deposits

Your notary will monitor the UG’s share capital deposits and manage the transfer of the deposit slips from the bank to the registry court. The corresponding administrative fee is often referred to as a Betreuungsgebühr in German.

Publishing your Handelsregister entry in the Federal Gazette (Bundesanzeiger)

This expense is not part of the notary’s fees, but is still part of the formation process and should factor into your budget.

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All German federal authorities must publish judicial notices in the Federal Gazette (Bundesanzeiger or BAnz). This includes new commercial register entries. Since 2012, the electronic Federal Gazette (eBAnz) has almost completely replaced the print version, leading to lower costs for disclosing company information as compared to a few years ago.

Minimising notary fees when forming a UG

There are certain decisions entrepreneurs can make to prevent paying higher notary fees than necessary.

Can I save money with a Musterprotokoll?

Using a standard contract can save you several hundred euros. A standard contract does, however, restrict your UG’s business structure. The costs you’ll save are only worth it if you are not planning to replace the standard contract with a unique one in the intermediate future. If you are, the costs of preparing and notarising the new contract will offset the money saved by forming the company with a standard contract. Take a look at the chart for exact values.

Changing the list of shareholders/managing directors: Notary fees

If you need to change your UG’s contract after the fact, you need a three-fourths majority vote from the UG shareholders. Since the Musterprotokoll only allows for up to three shareholders, a unanimous vote is needed to make changes in the case of a UG formed with a standard contract. You should, therefore, think carefully about your decision before quickly deciding to cut costs with a standard contract. You’ll also need to pay notary fees to change the UG’s list of shareholders.

Expense item Change to shareholder list Change to managing directors list
Commercial register application
(Handelsregisteranmeldung)
€62.50 62,50 €
XML file preparation €37.50 €37.50
Notariation of the articles of association/shareholder contract

 

(Beurkundung Gesellschaftervertrag)

€250.00 €250.00
Execution fee (notarial list of shareholders) 62,50 €
Fixed costs for documentation, mail and telecommunication¹ €20.00 €20.00
Notary fees (net) €432.50* €370.00*
Notary fees (VAT incl.) €514.68* €440.30*

Sources: IHK Berlin [PDF], firma.de statistics derived from notary invoices (as of December 2018)

* All figures are average prices and may vary from case to case. They are based on a Gerichts- und Notarkostengesetz fee chart as well as our own calculations from notary invoices from across Germany. Additional managing directors or a greater object value can influence the multipliers and fixed costs that form the basis of these fees.
¹ Average sum of both fixed costs (notarising the founding documents and the commercial register application)
² Average value, billed per page

 

 

Minimising your UG’s object value

For a UG with more than one founding shareholder, the UG’s object value is not a deciding factor in calculating notary fees, as the object value in such a case is set to €30,000 – regardless of the amount of share capital (ranging from €1 to €24,999), like with a GmbH. For UGs formed with one founding shareholder, however, the object value determines the rate used to calculate the fees. There are minimum fees for every service the notary performs, even when the UG is formed with only €1 in share capital. Fees do not increase linearly with increasing object value. Instead, there is a price graduation for many expense items.

If you want to form a UG with €10,000 in share capital, for example, you’ll automatically incur more costs for your notary’s services. A UG founded with no more than €7,000 in share capital and with a standard contract falls within the price category with the minimum rate for notarising shareholder contracts.

The information published on our site is all written and checked by experts with the greatest care. Nevertheless, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information, as laws and regulations are subject to constant change. Therefore, always consult an expert in a specific case – we would be happy to connect you with the right professional.

firma.de assumes no liability for damages caused by errors in the texts.

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