The following types of German companies are obliged not only to prepare their annual accounts but also to publish them:
- All companies limited by shares, i.e. all public limited liability companies and partnerships limited by shares and above all also all private limited liability companies
- Cooperative societies
- Partnerships without a natural person as a personally liable partner (these are mainly private limited liability companies and limited partnerships but also general partnerships with a company limited by shares as a personally liable partner)
- Branches of certain foreign companies limited by shares, above all limited companies.
- Companies which are legally obliged to publish their annual accounts these are companies - e.g. large retailers - which have met 2 of the 3 criteria specified below for 3 consecutive financial years:
- balance sheet total of more than 65 million euro,
- turnover of more than 130 million euro,
- average of more than 5,000 employees
- Irrespective of their legal form, credit institutions, institutions which provide financial services, insurance companies and pension funds.
Statements must be presented to the partners first of all. Then they must be filed, in principle without delay, and at the latest 12 months after the last closing date. If the financial year coincides with the calendar year, the balance sheet for the 2006 financial year must be filed by the end of 2007 at the latest and the balance sheet for the 2007 financial year by the end of 2008 at the latest, etc.
There is a shorter filing deadline of 4 months for capital market-oriented companies limited by shares.Failure to comply with the obligation to publish may attract penalties ranging from 2,500 to 25,000 euro.