Representative Office = Dependent Branch = Representation

Many people mix up branch with subsidiary and do not mean a different legal entity. Well, a representation is not a legal but only a domestic agent. Germans love to talk more of a dependent branch; a branch with no legal personality. We will describe below what such dependent branch is in Germany.

What is needed to set-up a representative office?

Um, in Germany, you do not “set-up” a representative office, you ”register“ one. This kind of branch without legal capacity is registered at the trade office (Gewerbeamt) of your municipality. The setup is quickly done as this is a “walk-in walk-out” procedure. You have to provide:

  • certificate of incorporation of represented company,
  • certified translation of this excerpt into German, (N.B. this certificate must identify the owners and legal representatives),
  • copy of the ID from the legal representatives,
  • completed registration form,
  • office fees.
When is better to have a dependent branch?

It is typically interesting to go for a dependent branch if you only wish to hire employees in Germany (and keep the business back home); if you first want to test the German market before really investing here.

What about taxes for a rep office?

Generally, a representation is not subject to any taxes because it does transact any business in Germany. Its sole function is to represent the parent company. Business is transacted and invoices are written at headquarters.