When do I have to submit
VAT returns in Germany?
- As soon as you exceed the EU-wide delivery threshold of € 10,000 through distance sales in foreign EU countries including Germany, you have to submit VAT returns in Germany.
- The reason for this is that if you cross the EU-wide threshold, you are subject to VAT in all European countries to which you deliver goods.
- Not only the submission of returns, but also other VAT related documents and a registration for VAT are then mandatory.
- Registration for the One Stop Shop or OSS is an exception, as long as products are only sold and not stored in the foreign EU country.
- Another reason that leads to VAT liability in Germany is the storage of goods there.
- As soon as goods are stored in Germany, you have to register for VAT there and also start with the submission of regular VAT returns.
- This is not only the case for independent storage, but also for delivery and storage through fulfillment programs or providers with warehouses in Germany.
- The above-mentioned warehouses also include those of Amazon.
- Participation in an FBA program authorizes Amazon to store products and goods in all countries participating in the program and to ship them from there.
- This is why you have to register for VAT in all participating countries, including Germany, and submit a return on a regular basis.
- In this, sales are declared that were shipped from warehouses in Germany to German customers.
Do you exceed the EU-wide delivery threshold or do you store goods in Germany?
Then you have a lot of VAT tasks to deal with. hellotax can help you both with the registration and with the submission of tax documents and supports you in fulfilling all VAT obligations.
How to file
VAT Returns in Germany
VAT returns in Germany are filed electronically with the UST 1A form. The tax office to which VAT returns need to be submitted is determined by the company’s country of origin and will be allocated when the company registers for VAT.
VAT returns are due on a yearly basis. However, if the turnover exceeds € 1,000 returns are due quarterly and if turnover exceeds € 7,500 monthly returns are obligatory. An exception is made for newly registered businesses, which are required to file returns monthly for two years.
As always, before returns can be filed, a business needs to register for VAT and acquire a german VAT ID. There are two types of numbers a trader or business owner needs to obtain to stay VAT compliant in Germany. The first one is a general tax number used for all tax purposes. This number is needed to apply for a VAT Identification number, which is necessary to file VAT returns. Foreign businesses need to firstly apply for the general tax number and can then electronically submit an application for the VAT ID that includes the filled out form, a VAT certificate, the Articles of Association and an extract from the company’s national trade register. A german tax office is then allocated to the business based on country of origin.
In case of late filings, the german penalties consist of an interest charge of 10% on the unpaid VAT with a limit of € 25,000. There is also an additional 1% charge due per month overdue.
You can make sure that VAT registration and the filing of correct VAT returns in Germany is taken care of by using the hellotax VAT automation tool. We help you automate VAT payments, correspond with the authorities and make sure you stay VAT compliant!
OSS and the EU-wide threshold
Until July 2021, exceeding country-specific delivery thresholds, such as the German one of € 100,000, was the decisive factor for VAT liability. This regulation was recently changed and a new EU-wide delivery threshold was introduced. The first € 10,000 turnover through distance sales will continue to be taxed at the VAT rate of the home country, VAT will be paid there and the returns will be submitted there. However, as soon as the net turnover of B2C distance sales in one or more European countries exceeds the new EU-wide threshold of € 10,000, VAT registration and the submission of returns will be mandatory again in all countries in which goods are sold. Each additional Euro must also be taxed at the VAT rate of the country of destination, e.g. the German rate.
However, if a seller has registered for the One Stop Shop in their home country, each sale must be taxed at the country-specific VAT rates. The EU-wide threshold is then no longer applicable. However, different VAT registrations are also no longer required. VAT returns are submitted at home and sales tax is paid to the company’s or seller’s home country. From there, the tax office distributes the money to the respective tax offices abroad. This applies as long as the goods are only sold and not stored abroad. As soon as goods are stored, separate registrations and VAT returns are again required.
Example: You are a Spanish distance seller with annual net sales of € 11,000 through sales to France, Italy and Germany. If you use the regulation of the EU-wide delivery threshold, € 1,000 in sales must be taxed with country-specific VAT rates, such as the German one, and the registration and filing of returns is mandatory in every country, including Germany. However, if you use the OSS, € 11,000 of sales will be taxed at foreign VAT rates, but all tax will be paid to Spain and the return will be filed there. However, if you participate in a fulfillment program and goods may be stored in Germany, you still have to register for VAT in Germany. If goods from a German warehouse are then sold to German customers, you must also submit a German VAT return for these sales in Germany.
OSS or delivery threshold? The hellotax team can help you with this decision. We can also support you with registrations for VAT or the OSS, the submission of returns, and the communication with the authorities. Contact us today!
Frequently Asked Questions
Most businesses are required to file german VAT Returns on a monthly basis. While only yearly Returns are required in general, quarterly Returns are obligatory for businesses with over € 1,000 in annual sales and monthly Returns for businesses with over € 7,500 in sales.
VAT Returns in Germany, whether monthly or quarterly, are due on the 10th of the month following the tax period using the UST 1A form, while annual Returns are due on the 31th of July.
Monthly or Quarterly
10th of the following month
UST 1A form in PDF or XML format
31st of July the following year
UST 2A form in XML format
Monthly, Quarterly, or Yearly
25th of the following month
ZM (Zusammenfassende Meldung)
3 to 12 month after the end of period, latest by 30th of September
Vorsteuervergütungsantrag in XML format
3 to 12 month after the end of period, latest by 30th of June
UST 1T in XML format
The penalties for late filings equal an interest of 10% charged on unpaid VAT with a limit of € 25,000 and an additional 1% per month overdue. Professionals at hellotax can also help you register for VAT and file Returns retroactively.
In order to obtain a VAT ID and start filing VAT Returns in Germany you need obtain both the german general tax number and consecutively the german VAT Identification number. Both can be acquired by filling out electronic application forms on the website of the German tax authorities.
The German standard VAT rate on goods and services is 19%. A reduced rate of 7% applies to food items, water supplies, transportation, books, newspapers, cultural events, writing services, hotel accomodations and medical care. Due to the Corona-Crisis the standard rate was lowered to 7% temporarily. The crisis rate still applies for hospitality, restaurants and cafés until the end of 2022.
You might also need
VAT Returns in Italy
Italy is one of online sellers' favorite countries. We can help you with the tax compliance.
VAT Returns in Austria
Joining the Amazon Pan-EU or the Amazon Central Europe Programme? Then you also need to register for VAT and file returns in this country.
VAT Returns in France
A VAT registration and the filing of returns in France are required when you store goods in warehouses in France. This also includes Amazon's fulfilment centres.