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 CodeDE
Characters9 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. 

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