Registered associations: § 21 BGB (German Civil Code) "An association whose purpose is not directed towards a commercial business operation acquires legal capacity through registration in the register of associations of the competent local court". This means that if you want to found an association that does not pursue a purely commercial purpose, you can register it as a registered association.
You don't have to, but a registered association has many advantages: for example, tax relief or total tax exemption as well as access to public funds. In addition, you can act as a legal entity, so the members of the association are not personally liable.
Unincorporated associations, on the other hand, are more independent and therefore more suitable for temporary associations.
Checklist for setting up an association
1. find seven members who share the same goal as you. If you can't get seven people together, you can start by forming an unincorporated association and register it later.
2. Hold a founding meeting and elect the board. At least seven members must be present. At the founding meeting you decide on the name of the association. You also elect the board. The board takes over the management of the association and can also represent it. The board can consist of one or more persons - usually up to five. The exact rules are laid down in the statutes of the association.
3. A resolution on the association's statutes is also required for registration. These must be signed by at least seven members.
4. In any case, the following information should appear in the association's statutes:
▪ Name and seat of the association
▪ the purpose of the association
▪ whether the association should be registered
▪ regulations on the entry and withdrawal of members
whether and to what extent membership fees must be paid
▪ regulations on the formation of the executive committee
▪ requirements for convening the general assembly of members
▪ in what form the general meeting of members is to be convened
▪ how resolutions are to be certified
5. have non-profit status checked.
If your association is to benefit from tax concessions, you must apply to the relevant tax office for classification as a non-profit organisation. This is checked every 3 years. Simple bookkeeping is compulsory.
6. register your association
If you want to found a registered association, have the elected board of directors enter your association in the register of associations.
7. For tax purposes, you must set up a bank account for your association. Many banks offer special association accounts.
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