What does it cost to start a GmbH?

To set up a GmbH, you need to factor in the formation costs. How high these turn out to be depends on the founders’ decisions.

 

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Andreas Munck

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What does it cost to start a GmbH?

If you want to set up a limited liability company in Germany, not only will you need to come up with share capital of at least €25,000 (there are some caveats to this), but you will also have to pay other costs such as:

  • Gewerbeanmeldung (trade registration)
  • entry in the Handelsregister (commercial register), and
  • notary fees.

The following tables show all the items involved in setting up a GmbH. Please note that some fees depend on the amount of share capital or the number of shareholders. For simplicity’s sake, we assume a minimum share capital of €25,000 in our example.

Don’t budget to the last cent

Don’t try to figure out the exact cost of starting a limited company, as things might change. Always have a backup plan for if founding documents need changes or deadlines get pushed back. Plus, notaries might charge extra for sundry items like printing, which would add to your total. You can find a detailed breakdown of the notary fees for starting a limited company here.

Costs using customised articles of association

Key data Single-shareholder GmbH Multi-shareholder GmbH
Stammkapital
(share capital)
€25,000 €25,000
Formation (incorporation) costs
Beurkundungsverfahren

Gesellschaftervertrag & Geschäftsführerbestellung

(Notarisation of the

articles of association & appointment of managing directors)

€375 €384
Gesellschafterliste

(Execution fee for the shareholders’ list)

€96 €96
Commercial register entry
Entwurf der Handelsregisteranmeldung
(Commercial register application draft)
€62.50 €62.50
Betreuungstätigkeit

(Support services)

€62.50 €62.50
 XML-Strukturdateien

(Creation of XML files)

€37.50 €37.50
Additional notary costs
Post- & Telekommunikationspauschalen¹

(Post & telecommunication flat rates)

€30 €30
Dokumentenpauschalen¹²

(Flat fee for document management, e.g. copies, printouts, scans, files)

€22 €22
Notargebühren (netto)

(Net notary fees)

€685.50* €694.50*
Notargebühren (inkl. 19 % MwSt)

(Notary fees incl. 19 % VAT)

€815.75* €826.46*
Official fees
Handelsregistereintrag

(Commercial register entry)

€200 €200
Gewerbeanmeldung
(Trade registration)
€35 €35
Formation costs (incl. 19 % VAT) €1,050.75* €1,051.46*

Costs using the Musterprotokoll (standardised articles)

Key data
Stammkapital
(Share capital)
€25,000
Formation (incorporation) costs
Beurkundungsverfahren

Gesellschaftervertrag & Geschäftsführerbestellung

(Notarisation of the

articles of association & appointment of managing directors)

€115
Commercial register entry
Entwurf der Handelsregisteranmeldung
(Commercial register application draft)
€57.50
Betreuungstätigkeit

(Support services)

€57.50
XML-Strukturdateien

(Creation of XML files)

€34.50
Additional notary costs
Post- & Telekommunikationspauschalen¹

(Post & telecommunication flat rates)

€25
Dokumentenpauschalen¹²

(Flat fee for document management, e.g. copies, printouts, scans, files)

€7
Notargebühren (netto)

(Net notary fees)

€296.50*
Notargebühren (inkl. 19 % MwSt)

(Notary fees incl. 19 % VAT)

€352.84*
Official fees
Handelsregistereintrag

(Commercial register entry)

€200
Gewerbeanmeldung⁴
(Trade registration)
€35
Formation costs (incl. 19 % VAT) €587.84*

Sources: IHK Berlin [PDF], own statistics from notary invoices (as of: 2023)

*All prices are average costs and may vary in individual cases. They are based on the fee tables of the German Court and Notary Fees Act as well as our own calculations from notary invoices from all over Germany. The calculation example assumes that the GmbH has only one managing director and share capital of EUR 25,000. Additional managing directors and a larger object value change the multipliers and flat rates on the basis of which the fees are calculated.
¹ average sum of both lump sums from the notarisation of the incorporation documents and the application to the commercial register
² average value, charged per page
³ price for incorporation with cash contributions. The fee for entry in the commercial register with contributions in kind is EUR 240
⁴ Average value, each municipality sets its own fee for a business registration

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The fastest way to start a GmbH

Variable costs of setting up your limited company

As well as the costs mentioned above, you’ll also have to pay for things like printing, photocopying and postage. You can either pay for each of these as you go or at a flat rate of €20 per process. As incorporating and registering your company are two separate processes, the flat rate would be €40. You may be able to save some money if your notary agrees to waive the flat fee, as printing and postage costs are usually low. But not all notaries will be willing to do this for such small amounts.

If you need to have your company statutes (articles of association) drawn up and certified in two languages, this will also cost extra.

You can write some of the documents yourself, such as the list of shareholders, to save money. But be careful: trying to save on notary fees in this way can sometimes end up costing you more. Although it may seem like a good idea to write these documents yourself, it’s better to get help from a legal professional, especially if you’re a newbie. This is because very few laymen can write error-free articles of association or other legal documents. If your documents don’t meet the requirements of the Registergericht (registry court), you’ll have to make changes before your company can be officially registered. This will cost you extra time and money.

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