Aside

Taxes

Fundamental Principles of Corporate Tax Law

Basics of tax laws for companies

Germany has a complex, multilayered tax system that reliably governs the tax burden for companies and is characterized by a high level of legal security. The overall tax burden in Germany is an average of 29.8 percent lower than that of France, Spain, Italy or the United Kingdom.

Companies are taxed in Germany as follows:

  • Corporations (AG or GmbH) are currently subject to a tax of 15 percent. Possible distributions of profits to shareholders are subject to tax in the amount of 60 percent and are subject to a final withholding tax (income tax) in the amount of 25 percent. In a pay-out, there is another 15 percent tax add-on.
  • Partnerships (GbR, oHG or KG) are not subject to corporation tax. The profit shares of the Company are attributable to individual shareholders and to income tax with the respective personal progressive tax rate.
  • Bodies and private companies also pay a business tax. It is a municipal tax, where the tax rates are determined individually by the municipality in which the company is located.

The social security system in Germany is financed by an assessment system. The contributions are provided by both employers and employees. The contribution rates are set by the legislature (for pension insurance, unemployment insurance, health insurance and nursing home insurance) and the local government (for accident insurance). Social insurance is compulsory for the entire workforce and social security contributions are drawn directly by the social insurance carrier.