Germany

On this page you’ll find everything you need to know about German VAT registration, Returns, Tax Representation and your legal obligations within Germany.

Looking to sell goods into Germany?

In Germany

You need to register for VAT if:
  • You store goods in the Germany; and
  • You sell them to consumers based in the Germany; and
  • Your sales exceed the German VAT threshold

You may also need to register for VAT separately in other EU countries if:

  • You sell goods to consumers in other EU countries.

In a different EU Country

You need to register for VAT in the Germany if:

  • You store your goods in Germany or
  • You sell to UK-based consumers (non-business); and
  • Your sales exceed the UK distance selling VAT threshold of €100,000

Outside the EU

You need to register for VAT in Germany if:

  • You sell goods that you store in Germany to customers based in the EU.
  • You may also need to register for VAT separately in other EU countries if:
  • You sell goods to consumers in other EU countries.

Types of German VAT

Rate Type
19% Standard
7% Reduced
0% Zero

Registering for German VAT

Registering for VAT in a different country can be a daunting task, especially when new rules & regulations come out, At VAT Digital we help handle all of your German VAT Obligations by registering you for VAT and completing your monthly VAT returns including the 13th end of year return all for one simple fee. We will register you for VAT to be able to sell in Germany from your home country for selling on sites such as Amazon.de , Ebay.de and various other E-commerce websites and various other E-commerce websites including services and direct trade to Ireland.

Germany introduced Value Added Tax in 1968. The rules, which are based on the European Union which German has included into its VAT Act. The tax is administered by the Ministry of Finance.

Foreign companies, or ‘non-resident’ traders, providing goods or services in Germany to local businesses or consumers may have to register their business for German VAT. They will then have to follow the German VAT compliance rules, including invoicing and VAT rates, as well as pay over any German VAT due.

Should i register for German VAT?

New regulations in EU and more widely know and enforced on the Amazon platform means that if you are selling your goods on Amazon in a European country it is very likely you WILL have to register for VAT in Germany and possible other member states if your sell there also.

There are a number of trading situations which typically require a foreign trader to register with the German tax authorities such as;

  • Importing goods into Germany from another country, either from within the EU or from outside the EU
  • Moving goods between Germany and other EU member states (intra-community supplies), either as sales (dispatches) or purchases (arrivals)
  • Buying and selling goods in Germany
  • Selling goods over the internet to German consumers, subject to the German distance selling VAT regisration threshold
  • Goods held in consignment stock
  • Holding live exhibitions, events or training in Germany
  • If a company is otherwise a non-VAT trader, but is receiving services in Germany under the reverse charge rule
  • The self supply of goods

When should you register for German VAT?

  • For foreign businesses trading in Germany that are registered with VAT/GST/Tax in their own country, the VAT registration threshold is Zero. This means you have to register for VAT in Germany if you wish to sell goods to German consumers before you even make your first sale in the country.
  • For EU VAT registered companies selling goods over the internet to consumers in Germany, the VAT registration threshold is €100,000 per annum. Once you hit this turnover you will be required to register for VAT Separately in Germany.
  • Selling on Marketplaces such as Amazon DE or Ebay DE may require you to register for VAT in Germany even if you do not meet the €100,000pa threshold for VAT.

German VAT Returns

When a company is first VAT registered, it is allocated to one of the many German tax offices around the country. The allocation is based on the country of residency of the trader. For example:

  • French companies – Offenburg
  • UK companies – Hanover
  • US companies – Bonn
  • Far East Companies – Berlin
  • German VAT returns are filed electronically since 2013, with electronic authentication, over the internet.

German VAT Penalties

If there are misdeclarations or late fillings of Germany VAT returns, foreign companies may be subject to penalties. Late filings are subject to a charge of 10% of the VAT due, with a limit of €25,000. If the payment is delayed, there is a further charge of 1% of the VAT due per month overdue. There is a four year statute of limitations for German VAT, except for fraud, in which case it is extended to ten years.

German VAT rates

19% Standard – All other taxable goods and services.

7% Reduced – Some foodstuffs; water supplies (excluding bottled water); medical equipment for disabled persons; some domestic passenger transport; intra-community and international passenger transport for certain road, rail and inland waterway transportation; books (excluding e-books and books whose content is harmful to minors); audiobooks; newspapers and periodicals (except those containing content harmful to minors and/or more than 50% advertising); admission to cultural events; writers and composers; some agricultural inputs; hotel accommodation; certain admission to sports events; social services; medical and dental care; firewood; some timber for industrial use; take away food; cut flowers and plants for decorative use and food production; taxation of some gold coins and jewellery.

0% Zero – Intra-community and international transport (excluding road and rail and some inland waterways transport).

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VAT Registration & Filings

Import/One
Stop Shop

Fiscal
Representation

VAT
Refunds

VAT Registration & Filings

Unlock your sales potential with our bespoke VAT registration and filings services. Our team is ready to identify your VAT obligations allowing your business to expand across the world with a dedicated team beside you.

Leave the complexities to us, our professional team provide a seamlessly fast registration service and help you keep on top of the various filing deadlines so you can keep on top of what matters most.

Import/one stop shop

The two simplification schemes allow for both EU and non-EU businesses to lower the cost of VAT compliance and report multiple transactions using only one registration.

Enrolling in the schemes allows businesses to charge the correct VAT rate of each European country without the need to register for VAT in every member state.

The One Stop Shop and Import One Stop shop have set requirements for businesses to follow to stay compliant, find out more in our service guides.

fiscal representation

When a non-European business trades with the EU, some member states impose the need for a fiscal representative to be appointed for registration, filing, imports or VAT reclaims depending on the various EU rules.

VAT Digital is a recognised and certified European Fiscal Representative allowing for our non-EU clients to trade freely with the EU. This enables a lot of benefits for businesses when registering and importing goods to the European Union.

VAT refunds

Selling internationally can be very profitable but also increase the burden of expenditure for businesses. VAT expenses on goods, services and other operations outside of your home country can be difficult to recover due to the lack of registration or non-compliance.

VAT Digitals specialist team can help identify where VAT can be recovered and process a reclaim to ensure your business is maximizing its profits.

Frequently Asked Questions

a VAT registration in Germany can take anywhere between 8-12 weeks if an application has been submitted correctly. A wrongly submitted application could take longer and for non-eu businesses the Tax administration may ask for additional information before registering you for German VAT

Any German monthly or quarterly VAT filing is due on the 10th of the month following the period end. It is possible to apply for a continuing month’s delay on this, but this will require a cash advance payment. The annual German VAT filing which summarising all transactions throughout the year, is due by 31st May of the following year.
Any German VAT due must be paid at the same time.

The German tax authorities require sellers using online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay to register for a new Certificate named ‘USt 1 TI’, which confirms the seller is up-to-date on their VAT compliance.

 

The Certificate will be valid for three years before you have to re-apply and you MUST be VAT registerted in Germany to apply for the certificate.

 

The requirement will apply to non-EU sellers from 1 March 2019, and EU sellers from 1 October 2019.  Marketplaces are required to collect and hold these certificates for any traders on their platforms that are German VAT registered. Failure to do so will make the marketplace liable for any unpaid VAT of the selle

VAT is charged on all goods, also known as Value Added Tax, it is a consumer tax based on the goods you sell or buy. Registering for VAT allows you to claim the VAT back and offset it agaisnt your purchases.

 

Most companies do not need to register for VAT in the Germany until they hit the distance selling or tax threshold but there are certain requirements where you have to immediately register for VAT regardless of turnover.

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