German Company Taxes

What is Company Taxation in Germany and How Does it Impact Businesses ?

Taxes for companies in Germany have a big impact on businesses. It's important for companies to grasp how corporate income tax, trade tax, value-added tax, and other fees work.

Taxation of companies in Germany involves a two-stage process that includes both federal and municipal levels of taxation. The German tax system is known for its complexity and precision, reflecting the country's commitment to maintaining a robust economy while providing essential public services. This article provides a detailed insight into the taxation of companies in Germany, focusing on the two stages of taxation and the types of taxes involved.

Stage 1: Federal-Level Taxation

At the first level, corporate entities such as public limited companies or limited liability companies are subject to corporate income tax whereas partnerships such as GbR, oHG, or KG are subject to income tax. Both corporate income tax and income tax are types of taxes with uniform nationwide tax rates.

Corporate Income Tax

Corporate entities, specifically public limited companies (AG) and limited liability companies (GmbH), fall under the purview of corporate income tax (Körperschaftsteuer). This tax is designed to collect a portion of a company's profits and is subject to a uniform nationwide tax rate. Corporate income tax is levied on the profits generated by these entities, ensuring that they contribute to the country's revenue and public welfare.

Income Tax for Partnerships

Partnerships, including GbR (Gesellschaft bürgerlichen Rechts), oHG (offene Handelsgesellschaft), and KG (Kommanditgesellschaft), are subjected to income tax (Einkommensteuer). Similar to corporate income tax, income tax for partnerships is subject to uniform nationwide tax rates. Partnerships are taxed based on their respective shares of profits, ensuring equitable taxation within these business structures.

Stage 2: Municipal Level Taxation

At the second level, corporations as well as partnerships pay commercial tax. The commercial tax is a municipal tax in which the respective tax rates are determined individually by the municipality, so the commercial tax rates vary from one municipality to another.

Commercial Tax

The second stage of company taxation in Germany involves the payment of commercial tax (Gewerbesteuer). This tax is levied at the municipal level and is applicable to both corporations and partnerships. Unlike corporate income tax and income tax, commercial tax rates vary from one municipality to another. Municipalities have the authority to determine their own commercial tax rates, which are based on the economic activities and local business environment.

Trade Tax

Trade tax (Gewerbesteuer) is another component of the municipal taxation system in Germany. It is assessed on the profits generated by commercial businesses. Trade tax is calculated based on a standardized formula that considers a company's profits and adds back certain expenses, resulting in a taxable amount. This taxable amount is subject to the municipal trade tax rate, which, similar to commercial tax, is determined individually by each municipality.


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