Before you can set up a business in Germany, you need to deal with the paperwork. First of all, it is important to know whether you are going to work on a self-employed (gewerblich) or freelance (freiberuflich) basis. Freelancers need to register with the tax office (Finanzamt). If you want to register as a self-employed entrepreneur, you will need to contact your local trade office (Gewerbeamt). The Authority Finder will guide you towards the authorities you’ll need to deal with and will tell you where they are.
Please note: You may find it challenging to deal with the various authorities. However, you should try and utilize their support. Make sure to prepare your meetings with the authorities well – that way, you’re likely to get the support you need. It’s important to get the paperwork done on time. Don’t be scared off by the bureaucracy, and find out beforehand which registrations and approvals you need.
BMWi Authority Finder
BMWi GründerZeiten no. 24: Recht und Verträge (laws and contracts)
BMWi GründerZeiten no. 26: Erlaubnisse und Anmeldungen (permits and registrations)
BMWi Overview no. 32: Special permits
Which businesses need what kind of special permit?(German, English)