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Germany VAT certificates for EU sellers Oct 2020

  • Sep 7, 2019 | Richard Asquith

From 1 October 2019, EU online retailers selling to German consumers must provide any marketplaces they are active on with a VAT Certificate (Bescheinigungen nach § 22f UStG). This can be obtained from the German tax office, Finanzamt. The certificate verifies their German VAT registration, and that they are up to date on compliance.  Non-EU sellers have been required to provide the same certificates since 1 March 2019.

Marketplaces operating in Germany are required to hold these VAT Certificates, or block the seller. Failure to do so will make them liable for any unpaid VAT.

Sellers can follow the following steps to comply with the new requirements:

·      The seller must already be registered for VAT in Germany, either because of holding stocks there or having passed the German €100,000 distance selling threshold.

·      Whilst sellers below the German distance selling threshold do not require a Tax Certificate since they are not registered, their marketplaces may nevertheless insist on one. In this case, the seller would need to apply for a German VAT number, with an opt to tax at destination.

·      Complete form Ust TJ, which captures details of the seller’s: business; Steuernummer VAT number: any tax adviser details: appointed authorised agent (non-EU sellers); and marketplace accounts and seller ID numbers across all German marketplaces.

·      Submit the application to the appropriate German tax office for the seller’s country of residence. For example, Berlin for Chinese sellers.

·      A USt 1 TI VAT certificate is then issued, subject to the seller meeting the checks of the tax office. For example, if there is a history of undeclared sales on the marketplace?

·      Submit the USt 1 TI certificate to the relevant marketplaces, typically within the seller’s login admin section.

·      Note: A USt 1 TI certificate is valid for three years. Sellers must reapply and upload to marketplaces a renewed USt 1 TI after this.

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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VP Global Indirect Tax
Richard Asquith
VP Global Indirect Tax Richard Asquith
Richard Asquith is the former VP Global Indirect Tax at Avalara
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