Commercial Founder of a new Company

Form for tax assessment

1. Trade notification

A party that opens a commercial operation shall be obliged in accordance with Section 138 Fiscal Code (Abgabenordnung, “AO”) to give notification about the commercial operation to the local authority in which the operation is opened.
A trade is any independent, regular, long-term activity for the purpose of achieving a profit. A trade is pursued by a party who:
  • is personally independent,
    i.e. is not subject to external instructions,
  • pursues the trade on a regular basis,
    i.e. not only occasionally and in exchange for a fee,
  • aims to achieve a profit in doing so, irrespective of whether this is actually achieved or not.
In Hamburg, notification of the trade is submitted to the consumer protection offices of the relevant district authority offices for the place of business or to the service centre of our chamber of commerce (except for trades which require approval). For notification/registration of the trade, you will need:
  •  A valid ID card or passport (with registration certificate) and
  •  an extract from the Commercial Register if available.
  •  20 euros to cover the trade notification costs.

2. Form for tax assessment

Since 1 January, 2021, natural persons and legal entities as well as partnerships have had to transmit the “Form for tax assessment” to their relevant tax office in electronic form within one month following the opening of a commercial operation, and have received their tax number from the tax office after the documents have been checked. This form must be transmitted electronically to the officially specified data record without a request to do so having been made by the tax office. The current requirement of tax offices to request the form therefore no longer applies, and entrepreneurs are required to submit it electronically. The service portal of the ELSTER tax application should be used to fill in and transmit the form unless this is done by a tax advisor. A registration is required to use ELSTER. This will be required in any case to transmit tax returns and declarations at a later date. Please note that registration takes around two weeks. Since 1 January, 2022, the transmission requirement has also been in place for the form for foundation of a corporation under foreign law.
The founder of a new company enters general personal information (address, banking details, etc.), tax information on expected sales and revenues from their commercial or independent activity into the tax assessment form. The information entered relates to an obligation to submit VAT returns or to fix advance payments of income tax and, if necessary, trade tax by the tax administration.
In addition to trade professionals, the tax office also registers freelance founders of new companies for tax purposes. These persons earn income from scientific, artistic, teaching, healthcare activities, and legal consultancy in accordance with Section 18 EStG. Freelancers must generally contact their responsible tax office directly in order to notify the tax office that they intend to earn income in this way in future. The requirement to transmit the respective form electronically to the officially specified data record via ELSTER also applies to freelancers from 1 January, 2021 (see above).

2a. VAT ID number 

At the same time, the trade professional may apply for a VAT ID number if they perform intra-community transactions. This application is sent by the tax office to the Federal Central Tax Office. It takes up to two months to issue a VAT ID number. To expedite the process in urgent cases, a founder of a new company may apply for the VAT ID number by fax (0228 / 406-3801) to the Federal Central Tax Office (BZSt). The written application must include the address of the applicant, the relevant tax office for the company, and the tax number under which the company is registered. An application for a VAT ID number can also be submitted online to the Federal Central Tax Office.
Note: More information on applying for a VAT ID number can be found on the website of the Federal Central Tax Office (BZSt).

2b. Small-scale entrepreneurs

VAT is not collected from small-scale entrepreneurs subject to VAT in accordance with Section 19 UStG (total sales in the foundation year is no more than 22,000 euros (up to 31 December, 2019: 17,500 euros); if the entrepreneur is only active for part of the calendar year, the actual total sales are converted into annual total sales and a lower pro rata sales limit shall then apply accordingly to the small-scale entrepreneur regulation) though they are also not allowed to deduct input tax. These small-scale entrepreneurs may also opt for tax on intra-community acquisitions if the acquisitions are made from EU Member States, even if they remain below the threshold for application of the special scheme for acquisitions in accordance with Section 1a Para. 3(2) UStG (12,500 euros in a calendar year). To do so, they do not have to waive tax exemption based on their small-scale entrepreneur status in accordance with Section 19 Para. 2 UStG, but must merely notify the relevant tax office and apply for a VAT ID number. In the case of intra-community acquisitions, they are then liable for separate tax on acquisitions for two years. Details on this can also be found in our information sheet regarding VAT/tax on sales for founders of new companies.

3. Central unit for foundation of new businesses

The tax offices in Hamburg have established new business foundation units to provide information on founding new businesses. The addresses and opening times of the new business foundation units in the Hamburg tax offices can be found in our information sheet “New business foundation units of the Hamburg tax offices” and at
Please contact your relevant chamber of commerce for more information. Use the Chamber of Commerce finder to find out which chamber of commerce is responsible for your company.
Despite careful review, we cannot provide any guarantee of the accuracy of the information. In case of doubt, please contact the tax office responsible for you