Germany VAT – The Rates & Registration

If your company is not established in Germany and is providing ‘taxable supplies’ of goods or services in Germany, it might have to attain a non-resident VAT registration. This follows the EU VAT Directive, foreign traders are legally obliged to register for VAT in certain situations, in order to report taxable transactions and declare the VAT that needs be charged.

It is imperative that all businesses with any commercial actions in Germany evaluate their compliance responsibilities and register before beginning any taxable transactions, if applicable.

What you should know

There are numerous circumstances in Germany that can generate the responsibility to register for VAT. Below are some of the most common cases:

  • Goods being imported into Germany from outside the EU;
  • Goods being bought or sold in Germany;
  • Selling goods from Germany that are delivered to customers out with Germany (this applies to business or private customers);
  • Obtaining goods in Germany from another country within the EU (Intra-community acquisitions);
  • Inventory of stock in Germany for sale, circulation or delivery;
  • eCommerce sales of goods to customers, subject to Distance Selling VAT registration thresholds;
  • Arranging events in Germany, if attendees or delegates pay admission.

If you are presently, or planning to conduct any of the above (or similar) transactions in Germany, you should contact amavat® immediately to allow us to help you be VAT compliant.

Covid-19 VAT Rate cuts

Supply Old rate New rate Implementation date End date
Standard rate 19% 16% 1 July 2020 31 December 2020
Reduced rate 7% 5% 1 July 2020 31 December 2020
Hospitality, restaurants, cafes 7% 5% 1 July 2020 1 July 2021

VAT Rates, the Formats & the Thresholds

VAT Rates VAT No. Format Distance Selling Threshold Intrastat Threshold
19% (Standard)
7% (Reduced)
DE123456789 € 100,000 € 500,000 (Arrivals)
€ 800,000 (Dispatches)

*amavat® accept no responsibility for the above figures being 100% accurate, at all times. They will periodically updated - last update 30.06.2020.

Additional VAT information for Germany

‘VAT Return’ Periods
Required either monthly, quarterly or annually

‘Annual Returns’
Yes, if VAT return period is either monthly or quarterly

‘EC Sales Lists’ frequency
Monthly or quarterly

‘EC Purchase Lists’
Not required

Additional reporting requirements
Not required

Extended ‘Reverse Charge’
Relates to a extensive range of services in Germany. Please contact amavat® if you would like further information of how the extended reverse charge applies in Germany.

‘Fiscal Representation’
In principle, a non-established business does not have to appoint a tax representative. But, a tax representative should be appointed if the non-established business makes only exempt or exempt with credit supplies.