Registered association (Germany)
An eingetragener Verein (German: [ˈaɪnɡəˌtʁaːɡənɐ fɛʁˈʔaɪn], registered association or incorporated association), abbreviated e. V. (German: [ˈeː ˈfaʊ]), is a legal status for a registered voluntary association in Germany. While any group may be called a Verein, registration as eingetragener Verein confers many legal benefits because a registered association may legally function as a corporate body (juridical person) rather than just a group of individuals. The legal status must be mentioned in the name as well. Like certain other corporate bodies a eingetragener Verein can apply for the status of a charitable organization (Gemeinnützigkeit).
All natural and legal persons in Germany, including entities such as municipalities, counties and other entities under public law, can form associations and be member of an association. This means that associations are not limited to private clubs formed by natural persons but have a much broader scope.
The statutory minimum number of members for forming a registered association is seven. The minimum number of members before a registered association needs to be dissolved is five.
Associations and partnershipsEdit
The Civil Code of Germany contains different regulations for registered non-profit and for-profit associations regarded as juridical persons (Vereine, articles 21–79) on the one hand and for not necessarily registered associations by contract (Gesellschaften, articles 705–740) on the other hand. The Verein is the basic type of a juridical person while the Gesellschaft is dogmatically more a partnership. Due to this theoretical distinction, the concept of Verein is also the legal basis for economic entities such as GmbH and Aktiengesellschaft. They are regulated in separate statutes as special economic associations but bear the same basic features.
In other German-speaking countries such a distinction does not exist. But there may be legal requirements which oblige an association to register itself; for example, in Switzerland if it must be audited (Revisionspflicht). In Austria, all associations are registered in a special register, and having an e. V. in the name is not allowed.