VAT OSS registration in Germany – Step by step

  • Last update: 12.04.2024
  • Published: 22.11.2023
  • Read in: 5 min

Value Added Tax (VAT) is a crucial source of revenue for the treasury in every European Union country, leading the EU authorities to introduce a tool in 2021 that facilitates easier VAT settlements, known as the VAT OSS special procedure. VAT taxpayers worldwide can use this procedure, but this article focuses on entrepreneurs registered in Germany. It is important to note that each EU country has its own rules and infrastructure concerning VAT. As a result, the registration and settlement process varies by country.

The specifics of VAT OSS and how to register in Germany are detailed in this article!

vat oss registration in germany - step by step

From this article, you will learn:

  • What is the VAT OSS procedure?
  • What are the VAT rates in Germany?
  • When is it necessary to register for VAT in Germany?
  • What does the VAT OSS registration process in Germany look like?
  • What obligations arise from VAT OSS registration?

VAT OSS and VAT in Germany

In Germany, VAT includes three rates—standard at 19%, reduced at 7%, and zero.

Moreover, there are two ways to settle VAT in Germany. The first is local settlements, which require local VAT registration, discussed more in our article – VAT Registration in Germany. The second method involves VAT settlements within the VAT OSS framework.

VAT OSS (One Stop Shop) is a special EU procedure that simplifies VAT settlements for entrepreneurs performing B2C intra-community transactions and consolidating total sales to private consumers in other EU states into one declaration.

VAT OSS was introduced on July 1, 2021, as part of the e-commerce package and expanded the existing MOSS (Mini One Stop Shop), which facilitated collective VAT settlements generated by providing online services to non-VAT taxpayer individuals.


Non-EU VAT OSS Procedure

Additionally, companies outside the EU, conducting mail order sales to private consumers within the EU, can also use VAT OSS. The country where they can register for VAT OSS must be the one where they have a local VAT number (where they performed a local VAT registration).

For more information, check out our article – What is VAT-OSS?.

When is VAT registration in Germany necessary?

Before we describe the VAT OSS registration process in Germany, it’s important to understand the processes that entail VAT declaration and settlement obligations:

  • Selling goods and services within Germany,
  • Intra-community supply of goods and intra-community acquisition of goods,
  • Exporting goods from Germany to third countries,
  • Importing goods from third countries into Germany,
  • Storing goods in Germany,
  • Exceeding the VAT Sales Threshold (WSTO).

It’s essential to note that VAT OSS does not apply to B2B sales or local sales.

The last point, concerning the VAT sales threshold, relates to a threshold of 10,000 Euros, which applies to the size of B2C sales to private consumers from other EU countries.

Upon exceeding this sales threshold, entrepreneurs must settle foreign VAT in the buyer’s country, requiring local VAT registration or using the VAT OSS procedure.

If you need support with VAT registration in Germany, other EU countries, or the UK, or need help with e-commerce accounting, schedule a consultation, and our VAT Compliance experts will take care of the rest!

VAT OSS Registration in Germany - Step 1: Requirements

Initially, note that registration for the EU VAT OSS procedure occurs in the taxpayer’s country of residence. Thus, if you wish to register in Germany, it must be your company’s tax identification country. Therefore, before you start the actual registration process, you must have a German VAT number – Umsatzsteuer – Identifikationsnummer (USt-IdNr), which is issued after local VAT registration.

Step 2: VAT OSS Registration Application

The next step in the VAT OSS registration process in Germany involves submitting an application. This is done not at a German tax office, but through the portal, which is used for tax matters in Germany.

To log in, an ELSTER certificate file is needed, which everyone who has registered a company in Germany, paid VAT there, or submitted tax returns possesses.

After logging in, select the registration notification form for participation in the OSS EU scheme (formerly Mini-One-Stop-Shop), and fill it out. This includes providing information such as:

  • Company details,
  • Contact and banking details,
  • Information on branches and supply chains,
  • VAT number,
  • Details of other company registrations, e.g., VAT OSS registration in another EU country, or previous VAT registration in Germany and subsequent deregistration.

However, it’s important to mention that if you have an account on the ELSTER service, you can transfer these details if they were filled out during a previous registration.

Step 3: Submitting the Application

Once all required information has been filled out, the registration application needs to be sent. If correctly filled, the response, which may sometimes take several weeks, will be positive.

Need help with VAT or e-commerce accounting?

Need help with VAT or e-commerce accounting?

Contact us and let us know what you need help with, and our specialists will handle the rest! Regardless of whether it is about VAT Compliance – registration, declarations and settlements of VAT or VAT OSS – or accounting in e-commerce!

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VAT OSS and Obligations

If you decide to register for VAT OSS in Germany and use the special procedure, be aware of the obligations it entails. These include filing quarterly OSS declarations in Germany, which contain details of the settlements using the OSS procedure, including:

  • List of EU countries to which transactions were made,
  • Applied VAT rates,
  • Amount of VAT due.

How to Register for VAT OSS in Germany? - Summary

VAT in Germany is an integral part of doing business in the country, involving its inclusion in the prices of sold goods and services, as well as settlements and declarations. The latter two tasks can be performed locally or within the VAT OSS framework.

However, it’s important to note that using it is only possible after registering for VAT OSS, which in Germany is done through the ELSTER portal, where required details are provided. However, before this, you must obtain a VAT number, issued at a German tax office.

If you need any of the aforementioned, not only in Germany but also in EU countries or the UK, or are looking for support with e-commerce accounting, our VAT Compliance experts are here to help! Schedule a consultation, specify your needs, and we will handle the rest!

Antoni Merkun Copywriter and marketer, who has been cooperating with Taxology since March 2023. Interested in SEO and content marketing.