Merchants who are obliged to keep accounts
According to § 238 I HGB, all merchants are obliged to keep accounts. Therefore the merchant status is the decisive point for the obligation to keep accounts. According to Section 1 of the German Commercial Code (HGB), anyone who operates a trade is a merchant, or more precisely an actual merchant .
Does a registered businessman have to keep accounts?
Anyone in the commercial register as an e. K. is initially exempt from the accounting obligation according to § 241 a HGB, but only if it does not exceed the sales and profit limits of € 600,000 or € 60,000. Anyone who exceeds these limits in two consecutive years is obliged to keep accounts.
The actual merchant is a merchant who runs a trade. Therefore he is obliged to keep accounts according to § 1 HGB and § 238 I HGB.
An optional businessman does not meet the requirements of an actual businessman, but has voluntarily entered into the commercial register. Therefore, it is also subject to accounting requirements.
Non-merchants and the accounting obligation
According to Etaizhou, anyone who does a small business , agriculture and forestry or a freelance profession does not operate a business that is subject to accounting. Anyone who does not have a fully commercial business is a non-merchant and is therefore not required to keep accounts under commercial law.
For this group of people, however, the tax law according to § 141 AO still requires accounting if the profit and turnover limits are present, if the turnover is over 600,000 euros or the profit is over 60,000 euros or if the self-cultivated agricultural and forestry area has an economic value of more than Owns 25,000 euros.
Which legal forms are required to be kept?
The accounting and accounting requirements depend on the size and legal form of the company. In addition to the actual, can and full merchants, mold merchants are also obliged to keep accounts. This includes partnerships with unlimited liability such as the OHG, GbR or PartG as well as legal forms with limited liability such as the GmbH, UG or the GmbH & Co. KG. And of course the corporations such as the GmbH, entrepreneurial companies, joint stock companies and cooperatives.
There are legal entities under public law (federal, state, local) and legal entities under private law (corporations). They have legal capacity, but can only act through their organs (members) who are also liable with their assets for liabilities (such as taxes). According to the tax law, you have a so-called “partial tax capacity” and have to pay corporation tax and sales tax . Therefore, they are obliged to keep accounts under tax law.
Corporations such as GmbH, AG, UG, KGaA, gGmbH are also subject to accounting requirements. All trading companies are form merchants according to § 6 HGB and are therefore obliged to keep double accounting and accounting.
GbR and OHG
Partnerships with unlimited liability such as the OHG, GbR or PartG are subject to accounting requirements.
The GmbH is a corporation which, like the AG, UG, KGaA and gGmbH, is subject to accounting requirements. § 13 (3) GmbHG: “The company is considered a trading company within the meaning of the Commercial Code”
Accounting for small businesses?
Small businesses do not operate a business that is subject to accounting under commercial law. However, they are subject to the profit and turnover limits specified by Section 141 AO. Nevertheless, you need an accounting if the turnover is over 600,000 euros or the profit is over 60,000 euros. They must record their operating income and operating expenses and prepare an income surplus statement (EÜR) at the end of the year .
Who does the exemption from the accounting obligation apply to?
When it comes to the exemption from the obligation to keep accounts , we speak of the exemption from double-entry accounting. Because at least one income-surplus-account must also be created by those who do not have to do double accounting and accounting.
Freelancers, which include lawyers, journalists, tax consultants or doctors, are usually not merchants under the HGB. As a rule, these professional groups are therefore not obliged to keep accounts. Smaller companies are often classified as non-traders and are therefore not obliged to keep accounts. However, there are no clear parameters for delimitation. According to tax law (§ 141 AO), however, they must also keep accounts if the profit and turnover limits are in place. If the annual turnover of a company is below 600,000 euros or if less than 60,000 euros profit is generated per year, the company is not obliged to keep accounts.
Does a lawyer have to keep accounts?
The lawyer belongs to the liberal professions and does not own a business. He is therefore not obliged to double-entry accounting, but has to record his operating income and operating expenses and prepare an income-surplus account at the end of the year .
All freelancers (including lawyers, naturopaths, doctors, architects, tax consultants or artists (musicians, writers)) do not have to do double-entry accounting due to the lack of a commercial enterprise. However, they must document their operating income and expenses and create an income-surplus account at the end of the year .
Freelancers whose annual turnover is higher than 600,000 euros or whose annual profit is more than 60,000 euros are not required to keep accounts. Freelancers and tradespeople who are not required to keep accounts only need to create an income surplus calculation for the tax office.
The exemption from accounting under commercial law also applies to tax consultants as a freelancer without a commercial enterprise. According to tax law, however, just like doctors or lawyers, he is obliged to document his operating income and expenses and to prepare an income-surplus account at the end of the year.