Chamber membership and obligation to pay fees

In Germany all registered companies in industry, commerce or service are required by law¹ to be a member of a Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI / German abbr.: IHK). The IHK's are public corporations with compulsory membership. According to the German Law on Chambers of Commerce and Industry¹ their main tasks are:
  • competent representation of the interests of industry, commerce and service companies against state and society
  • efficient performance of mandatory tasks
  • supply of services relating to business
  • objective advice for public decision makers
The representatives of the "parliament of the business community"², elected by the business members, define each year, what direction and focus the IHK should take and approve the amount of the membership fee. All companies pay mandatory fee to their chamber according to their economic success. One advantage of statutory membership is that the IHK's represent all branches of business and companies equally, regardless of size, whether it is a small shop or a multinational corporation. All companies have one vote and equal rights. Their fees keep the chambers financially independent towards singular interests or government influence.
Membership begins for natural persons and partnerships with the start of the business activity; in case of joint-stock companies and cooperatives with the registration in the Trade or Cooperative Register. The fee is levied independently of the actual use of IHK services by the respective member. The obligation to pay fees begins with the start of the financial year.
The assessments of contributions apply to all businesses with a branch or subsidiary in the district of IHK Frankfurt which carry out an activity subjected to trade tax³. Small companies with annual business earnings < 5,200 € are exempted from payment. The decisive factor is the assessment of trade tax by the competent financial authority. IHK membership and the obligation to pay fees ends with the termination of the tax trade obligation.

IHK Frankfurt - membership fee 2024⁴

Business earnings⁵
Basic fee
Contribution %⁶
1. Small companies
≥ 5,200.00 < 25,000.00 €
20.00 €
2. Small companies
≥ 25,000.00 €
40.00 €
3. Private limited companies
    as general partners⁷
90.00 €
4. Registered companies⁸
Loss or < 38,000.00 €
180.00 €
5. Registered companies
≥ 38,200.00 €
360.00 €
6. Large enterprises⁹
10,000.00 €

¹ German: IHK-Gesetz (IHK-G)
² German: Vollversammlung
³ German: Gewerbesteuer
⁴ German: According to the published "Wirtschaftssatzung", "Beitragsordnung"
⁵ Operating profits according to the Trade Tax Act, German: Gewerbeertrag / Gewinn aus Gewerbebetrieb
⁶ For natural persons and partnerships (Nr.1.-2.), business earnings will be reduced once by an allowance of 15,340.00 €
⁷ Upon application, the basic fee will be reduced to 90.00 € for private limited companies (Nr. 3.) with an operating profit of up to 25,500.00 €, if commercial activity amounts to nothing more than a general partner function in a commercial partnership which is also a member of the IHK Frankfurt
⁸ Companies (Nr. 4.-5.) entered in the trade or cooperative register (German: Handels-, Genossenschaftsregister), as well as business operators whose businesses are not registered, but whose manner and extent of operations require a commercial organization.
⁹ Enterprises with at least two of the following three criteria: (1) more than 500 Mio. € balance sheet total; (2) more than 100 Mio. € turnover; (3) more than 1,000 employees.