Jaroslav Plotnikov

Glossary Deutsch-English

Here you will find the most important business terms and the minimum vocabulary you need to know in Germany. The explanations are very brief to make things clear. If you do not find the word you are looking for or if an explanation is still not clear, please leave a comment below (registration is not necessary).


ABH – s. Ausländerbehörde

Abmeldung – deregistration of your residence in Germany

ab sofort – as of now, anytime

Anmeldung, auch Amtliche Anmeldung – is a process of registering a residence in the Residents’ Registration Office (Anwohnermeldeamt)

Anwohnermeldeamt – Authority responsible for the registration and deregistration of persons³ You as a foreigner can take care of the following formalities: Residence registration, driving licence applications, registration certificates, Police clearance certificate (Polizeiliche Führungszeugnis). Anwohnermeldeamt is often located within the Bürgeramt.

Arbeitsagentur, also Bundesagentur für Arbeit – Federal Employment Agency

Arbeitslosenversicherung – Unemployment insurance contributions

Aufenthaltserlaubnis, Aufenthaltstitel – residence permit

Ausländerbehörde, ABH (also Ausländeramt) – foreigner registration office / Immigration authority

Ausgaben – s. Betriebsausgaben

Ausländeramt – s. Ausländerbehörde

BAMF – Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, www.bamf.de

befristed – limited, fixed-term (usually about contracts)

Betriebsausgaben – business expences

Brutto / Netto (usually about salary) – the payroll after / befor deductions (tax, insurance etc.)

Bundesagentur für Arbeit – s. Arbeitsagentur

Bürgeramt, also Bürgerbüro, Bürgerdienst, Bürgerservice – is an institution in which several services for citizens are combined in one place

Deutschkenntnisse – German language skills (i.e. gute Java-Kenntnisse – good Java skills)

Drittstaat – as defined by the German Residence Act are generally those countries which are not members of the European Union (EU), Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway

Einnhahmen – proceeds

Einkommen – (business) income

Eintrittstermin – starting date

Entwickler,  Entwicklung – developer, development

Einwohnermeldeamt – resident registration office²

Einzelunternehmen –  Sole proprietorship (by far the most common legal form in Germany)*

Einzelunternehmer – sole proprietor, trader

Ertragsvorschau – revenue forecast https://service.berlin.de/dienstleistung/305249/en/

EÜR, Einnahmen-Überschussrechnung – income surplus accounting

Fachhochschule – abbreviated FH, or University of Applied Sciences (UAS) according to Wikipedia, is a German tertiary education institution, specializing in topical areas (e.g. engineering, technology or business).

Finanzamt – tax office

Freiberufler – freelancer

Freibetrag – tax allowance

GbR, Gesellschaft bürgerlichen Rechts – partnership constituted under civil law (one of company’s legal forms)*

Gesamteinkommen – the total income, income without deductions and tax

Gewerbe – trade

Gewerbeamt – trade office / commerce office* (sometimes belongs to Ordnungsamt)

Gewerbeanmeldung –  Trade registration. Will be done in Gewerbeamt.

Gewerbefreiheit – Freedom of trade, free access to trade – one of the German rights. Right to run a business, unless there are legal exceptions or restrictions

Gewerbesteuerhebesatz – trade tax multiplier

Gewerbetreibender – trader*

Gewinn – profit

Girokonto – current bank account (for private purpose). There is also Geschäftskonto – a bank account for the business purpose.

Handelsregister – the commercial register

Handelsregisterantrag – the commercial register entry. This is a mandatory for some legal forms. You as IT-freelancer don’t need it

Hausverwaltung, also Wohnungsverwaltung – house management company

Hebesatz – s. Gewerbesteuerhebesatz

IdNr.,  ID-Nr – s. Steuer-ID or read this article

IHK, Industrie- und Handelskammer – CCI, Chamber of Commerce and Industry / Chamber of Industry and Commerce .*

Informatik – Computer Science

Informatiker – in colloquial German it is a collective word for “IT-people”

inkl. MwSt (from inklusive Mehrwertsteuer) – the price already includes VAT (value-added tax)

Kaltmiete – basic rent, without electricity, hot water etc.

Kaution – security deposit, used mostly in according with renting a flat

Kindergeld – state supplement for child (children) in the family

Kleingewerbe – Small business*

Kleinunternehmersmall business owner

Kleinunternehmerregelung – Small Business regulation*

Konto – an account (e.g. in a bank or in an internet service: Paypal-Konto, Google-Konto) s. Girokonto

LABO – the name of Ausländerbehörde in Berlin;

Leiharbeitnehmer – an employee in a temporary employment company (Zeitarbeitsunternehmen)

Lohnsteuerbescheinigung – Wage tax certificate. A certificate of tax deductions from an employee’s wage. The employee receives the Lohnsteuerbescheinigung from his employer

Meldebescheinigung – certificate confirming one’s permanent registration¹;

Meldebestätigung, also amtliche Meldebestätigung – the same as Meldebescheinigung

mehr anzeigen – show more (weniger anzeigen – to hide)

Miete – rent, usually for accomodation

MwSt – s. inkl. MwSt

Nachmieter – subsequent tenants

Nebenerwerb – Sideline

Netto – s. Brutto

Niederlassungserlaubnis – settlement permit

OHG, Offene Handelsgesellschaft – general commercial partnership (one of company’s legal forms)*

Ordnungsamt – s. Gewerbeamt

PLZ (from Postleitzahl) – postal index, this is mandatory while filling documents or entering any postal addresses

Polizeiliche Anmeldung – the same as Amtliche Anmeldung

Programmierer – programmer (instead of this term, in Germany they usually say Informatiker)

Regelbesteuerung – regular taxation – the most common form of taxation in Germany. In simple words “it is when your invoice includes 19% VAT”

SCHUFA – Credit Report. Schufa can be requested by the landlord to ensure your freedom from debt**

Selbstständigkeit – self-employment, freelance

Sozialversicherungspflichtige Erwerbstätigkeit / Beschäftigung – employment / occupation with the social package

Scheinselbständigkeit – fictitious self-employment, quasi-self-employment, pseudo self-employment

sozialversicherungspflichtig(e Tätigkeit) – employment with benefits package, the most common form of regular employment in Germany

Steuer(n) – tax(es); German taxes every entrepreneur should know:

  • Einkommensteuer – income tax
  • Gewerbesteuer – trade tax
  • Körperschaftsteuer – corporation tax [Br.]; corporate income tax, corporate tax [Am.]
  • Lohsteuer – wage and salary tax; wage tax; payroll tax
  • Mehrwertsteuer (MWSt) – value-added tax, VAT
  • Umsatzsteuer – turnover tax
  • Vorsteuer – input tax (VAT paid as input tax)

Steuerberater – tax advisor; tax practitioner [Br.]; tax preparer [Am.]

Steuerbescheid – notice of (tax) assessment

Steuererklärung – tax declaration

Steuer-ID, also: Steueridentifikationsnummer –  is a nationwide and permanent identification number of persons registered in Germany for tax purposes. The Steuer-ID is also implemented in other European countries as TIN (Tax Identification Number).

Steuermessbetrag – tax basis, basis for the assessment of land and trade taxes

Steuermesszahl – tax indicator

Steuernummer – Tax number

Steuervorauszahlung – advance tax payment; prepayment of taxes on estimate basis; tax prepayment;

Teilzeit – part-time

Termin – 1: an appointment on fixed day (and time); 2: the meeting for an appointment; 

Ummeldung – re-registration of your residence in Germany

Umsatz – turnover, (gross) sales

Umsatzsteuer – s. Steuer(n)

Umsatzsteuer-Voranmeldung – advance VAT return (the form which will be sent to the tax office monthly or once a quarter)

unbefristed – with unlimited duration (usually about contracts)

Unterkonto – subaccount. It’s an “account within your bank account”. It is a very convenient and free option – there you can put money  for a specific purpose (such as future tax prepayments, business expenses, tax consultant fees, etc.)

Untermieter – roomer, lodger

Unternehmer – trader (as a status for taxation); entrepreneur. About the difference to freelance s. FREELANCER vs TRADER

Veröffentlichung – publication, date of publication

Vollzeit – full-time

Warmmiete – s. Kaltmiete 

Wohnungsverwaltung – s. Hausverwaltung

Zeitarbeitsunternehmen – temporary employment business / company

Zwischenmieter – intermediate tenant 

zzgl. MwSt  (zuzüglich Mehrwehrtsteuer) – you have to add VAT (value-added tax, usually 19%) to the given price



¹ – www.bamf.de

² – Brochure Welcome in Germany by BAMF

³- Duden, https://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/Einwohnermeldeamt

* – Brochure “Starting a business in Berlin” – published by Berlin Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK), 2nd edition, June 2017

** – https://www.meineschufa.de/downloads/SCHUFA_Infoblatt-BA-Antrag-englisch.pdf

© 2018 Jaroslav Plotnikov ( All articles )  


Copy & share: jaroslavplotnikov.com/glossary

Your thoughts? Please leave a reply:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *