German VAT registration

What are the German VAT registration thresholds?

For foreign businesses trading in Germany that are VAT/GST/Tax registered in their home state, the VAT registration threshold is nil.

For EU VAT registered companies selling goods over the internet to consumers in Germany, the VAT registration threshold (distance selling) is €100,000 per annum.

What information is required to get a German VAT number and registration

The German tax office will require the appropriate forms to be completed, and submitted with the following documentation:

  • VAT certificate to prove the business is registered for VAT elsewhere in the EU, if appropriate.
  • Articles of Association.
  • An extract from the company’s national trade register.

Where are German VAT registrations submitted?

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
  • UK companies – Hanover.
  • US companies – Bonn.

What is the format of a German VAT number?

Once the registration has been granted, which can take as little as one working week, a unique German VAT number is allocated to the company.  All EU member states have a fixed format for their VAT numbers.  In Germany, it includes 9 digits.  For example: DE 123456789

In Germany, there are two categories of VAT numbers:

  • Steuernummer, which is a general tax number which is used by the tax authorities in their supervision of any trader, including VAT returns.  This is received first.
  • USt-IdNr, which is a VAT identification number for the reporting of intracommuity supplies.  This is provided following receipt of the Steuernummer by the Federal Finance Office.

German Number Format

Country Code DE
Format 123456789
Characters 9 characters

What next?

Once a business has its VAT number, it is free to commence trading, and charging German VAT.  It must comply with the German VAT compliance rules, and file regular returns (see German VAT Returns briefing).


Need help with your German VAT compliance?

Researching German VAT legislation is the first step to understanding your VAT compliance needs. Avalara has a range of solutions that can help your business depending on where and how you trade. 

Latest German news

EU request ending of German F22 VAT Certificate marketplace obligation

Oct 11, 2019 

The EU Commission (EC) has today sent to Germany a notice of formal notice to withdraw its 2019 requirement for EU and non-EU sellers on marketplaces to obtain an F22 VAT Certificate.

Germany cuts rail VAT

Sep 22, 2019

Germany has announced a reduction in the VAT rate applied on train journeys from the standard rate 19% to the 7% reduced VAT rate. The measure is part of a range of proposals to reduce the environment

Germany VAT certificates for EU sellers Oct 2020

Sep 7, 2019

EU online retailers selling to German consumers must provide any marketplaces they are active on with a VAT Certificate (Bescheinigungen nach § 22f UStG) from the German tax office, Finanzamt.