When moving to a different country, one of the scariest things to think about is taxes. It’s hard enough to wrap your head around taxes in your own country, but figuring it out far from home and likely in another language can feel very daunting.
These helpful tips will guide you on the right path and keep you on the right side of the law when planning to pay your taxes.
Begin The Tax Process Before You Even Start Your Business
If you are thinking of starting a business in Germany, read up on the most recent tax laws according to your type of business.
Make sure that you know exactly what to do in order to set up your business legally from the very beginning.
There are many blogs and websites that have detailed information on tax laws and how to follow them.
Many are also updated frequently, so make sure you are reading the most updated information on how to pay taxes as a foreigner in Germany.
Once you are versed in the basics of German tax law, then it’s time to make sure all of your business finances are in order.
Organize Your Books
It’s always a good rule of thumb to keep an organized record of all of your business transactions, especially if you are going to start a business abroad. From the very first purchase, make sure you have kept a record.
With modern technology, it has become easier to maintain financial records as many types of apps and websites make it easy to find transactions, pay statements, expenses, etc.
It’s much easier now than in the days of handwriting everything in a ledger, but with new technology, there also comes more accountability.
It is much harder now to slip under the radar or make financial transactions under the table. That’s why it is important not to go on this business journey alone.
As soon as you have a good financial foundation, it is time to find a team of accountants that will help you with your taxes and much more.
Find a Local Tax Advisory Service
The process of filing taxes in Germany as a foreigner can be very complex and nuanced, so it is highly recommended that you find a tax accountant that has the knowledge and skills needed to pay taxes correctly.
Many tax accountants work for a company that will have expert advice and other services needed to complete the tax-paying process.
The Tax advisory services in Germany can help you with financial planning, provide tax calculators for your business, and offer face-to-face support from real people who have years of experience working with ex-pats who have started businesses in Germany.
Having a team of tax accountants on your side from the beginning will make it nearly impossible to fall onto the wrong side of the law when it comes to German taxes.
Make Sure Your Company is Legally Registered in Germany
One piece of advice that tax accountants in Germany say is essential is to register your business with the local trade office.
You must also have a registered office in Germany to prove that you are legitimately set up in the country.
Showing that your business has an established presence in Germany puts you on the radar of the German authorities and will guarantee that you will have the ability to pay the GmbH taxes.
Once your business is registered and you have an established office, you can begin providing your services to the German public.
Make Sure That You Don’t Have to Pay Extra Taxes in Your Home Country
Most countries do not require a person to pay taxes in their home country fo they are living abroad, but some countries like the United States of America still require their citizens to pay some income taxes.
The best way to know if you are exempt from these extra taxes, talk to a financial advisor before you leave your home country.
If you have already been living abroad and have now decided to start a GmbH business, talk to a tax accountant and ask if that changes the way you pay taxes in both your home country and in Germany.
Consider Your Type of Business
Depending on the type of business that you want to start, your taxes might be different. Do some research about other businesses like yours in your area and then inform your tax accountant about exactly the kind of business you intend to run.
Certain businesses like GmbHs have to pay many different kinds of taxes like a corporation tax and a trade tax.
Make Sure You Submit Your Taxes on Time
If you are used to submitting your taxes at a certain time of year in your home country, that may be totally different from tax season in Germany.
If it is different, it’s important to make sure you allow ample time to get all of your affairs in order before it is time to file your business taxes. For the year 2023, a business tax return must be filed by the 30th of August, 2024.
If you are starting your business this year, that will give you plenty of time to find a tax advisory service, ask them about your type of business, get all of your documents in order, and file the tax return with no problem.
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The bottom line
It is a big step to move to another country and start a business there. When putting it all on the line to start a business in Germany, it is so important to make sure that everything is above board and filed correctly.
Making sure that you file your business taxes correctly is one of the biggest hurdles to the success of your business abroad and these tips will help keep your company secure.
Getting ahead of the tax system by finding a team of good tax advisors is the best thing you can do for your new business, especially if you are not familiar with the local tax system. Once that has happened, the other tips will help keep you on track.
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