Germany VAT Guide

  • 19% (Standard)
  • 7% (Reduced)


German VAT is known as “Umsatzsteuer” (Ust) or “Mehrwertsteuer” (MwSt)

There are two VAT numbers in Germany: the general tax number and the so-called EU VAT number (Ust-ldNr) used for intra-EU transactions. German VAT numbers have 11 characters (DE + 9 digits). The last 2 digits constitute a control number.

Monthly, quarterly or annually

The company has to report its VAT position by filing preliminary VAT returns on a monthly basis where VAT due in a previous calendar year exceeds the amount of € 7.500 (and also within the first two years for newly incorporated companies]. Preliminary VAT return has to be filed quarterly if VAT due in the previous calendar year is lower than € 7.500. If the VAT due in the previous calendar year did not exceed € 1.000, no preliminary VAT returns have to be filed but only the annual VAT return.

Preliminary VAT returns must be filed before the 10th day of the month following the tax period (month/quarter) to which it relates.

The refund is done immediately (generally within one month from the deadline for submission of the annual VAT return).

The VAT due should be paid by filing deadline for the preliminary VAT return no later than the 10th day of the month after the end of the tax period (month/quarter) to which it relates. If the tax due on the basis of the annual VAT return exceeds the interim payments or no provisional returns were submitted, the balance due must be paid within one month following submission of the annual VAT return to the tax office. Late payment causes surcharges of 1% of the net tax payable.

The company has to file an annual summary return (Umsatzsteuererklärung) in Germany. The Statement should be filed by electronic means before July 31st of the next calendar year.

  • € 800,000 (Arrivals)
  • € 500,000 (Dispatches)

Postponed accounting via the VAT return is not possible in Germany. Import VAT needs to be paid to the customs authorities upon importation. Deferred payment for VAT and customs is, however, possible under specific conditions.

The recapitulative Statement (ESL) must be filed on a quarterly basis provided the intra-Community of goods do not exceed € 50.000 in the current calendar quarter and the past four calendar quarters. If the above threshold is exceeded, the Statement must be filed on a monthly basis. The Statement must be filed by the 25th of the month following the reporting period (month/quarter).

  • Importing goods into Germany from outside the European Union
  • Buying and selling goods in Germany
  • Selling goods from Germany which are delivered to customers outside of Germany (business or private customers)
  • Acquiring goods in Germany from another EU country (Intra-community acquisitions)
  • Holding inventory in Germany for sale, distribution or consignment
  • E-commerce sales of goods to consumers, subject to Distance Selling VAT registration thresholds
  • Organizing events in Germany where attendees or delegates must pay admission

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