Numerous businesses contemplating expansion often contemplate Belgium as a prospective location, often due to its advanced level of development. Nevertheless, venturing into a new market necessitates acquainting yourself with the […]Read in: 6 min
VAT registration in Germany
- Last update: 27.07.2023
- Published: 07.07.2023
- Read in: 4 min
VAT registration in Germany holds significant importance for any company engaging in business within the country. Given Germany’s position as one of the largest economies in the European Union, entrepreneurs seeking to expand their businesses within the community must give special consideration to this aspect.
However, it is crucial to bear in mind that Polish entrepreneurs aiming to tap into the market of their western neighbors may, at some stage, be obliged to register for VAT in Germany to comply with regulations and avoid penalties. This article aims to address the process of VAT registration in Germany, its location, and the necessary documents that need to be prepared.
From the following article you will find out:
- The term used for VAT in Germany and the applicable rates,
- The circumstances triggering the obligation to register for VAT in Germany,
- The specific German tax office where a Polish entrepreneur can initiate the VAT registration process.
VAT in Germany
VAT in Germany goes by two names – Umsatzsteuer or Mehrwertsteuer, and this applies not just in German-speaking nations. The standard VAT rate is 19%, while reduced rates are 7% and 0%.
If you wish to learn more about which products fall under each VAT rate, you can check out our article – VAT Germany 2023.
When does the requirement to fulfill VAT obligations arise?
The requirement for VAT registration in Germany, as well as any other EU country, occurs under the following circumstances:
- When a company sells goods and services within Germany.
- When a company buys goods and imports them into Germany from another EU member state.
- When a company exports goods from Germany to non-EU countries.
- When a company imports goods from non-EU countries into Germany.
- When a company warehouses goods in Germany.
Under the mentioned circumstances, business owners are obligated to pay VAT in Germany, which requires prior VAT registration. Alternatively, a special VAT OSS procedure can be used for intra-Community B2C transactions. For more information about VAT OSS, refer to our article – What is VAT OSS? However, it is crucial to note that this procedure does not cover goods storage, which requires local declarations to be filed.
Moreover, Polish entrepreneurs have the option to register for VAT by mail.
Intra-Community supply of goods vs. sales limit
Effective from July 1, 2021, the e-commerce package was implemented, which included a new limit for mail-order sales in EU countries. Once this limit is exceeded, starting from the transaction that surpasses it, Polish sellers are obliged to pay VAT in the buyer’s country, and this requires prior registration for VAT.
Importantly, this limit is applicable to the total sales made to EU countries. Before reaching this limit, Polish entrepreneurs are bound by domestic VAT rates, but once it is surpassed, they must apply the rates of the buyer’s country to their sales.
To find out more about the distance selling threshold, you can refer to our article – EU mail order sales limit.
The required documentation for VAT registration in Germany.
To become a German VAT payer, a Polish entrepreneur must gather specific documents required for VAT registration in Germany. These documents include:
- Fragebogen – registration application
- identity card
- confirmation of an active bank account,
- confirmation of registration for EU VAT
It’s essential to note that the documents listed above are just examples of the necessary paperwork, and some of them may need to be translated by sworn or regular translators. Our team of VAT Compliance specialists can assist you in obtaining a German VAT number. Don’t hesitate and schedule a free consultation today.
Which German tax office should I choose to register for VAT?
Selecting a German tax office for VAT registration in Germany can be challenging or somewhat unconventional. This is because Polish companies must report to the specific office based on the initial letter of their company name.
Therefore, the relevant German tax office for fulfilling the registration obligation is as follows:
- For company names starting with letters A to G, it will be the tax office in Hameln.
- For company names starting with letters H to L, it will be the tax office in Oranienburg.
- For company names starting with letters M to R, it will be the tax office in Cottbus.
- For company names starting with letters S to Ź, it will be the tax office in Noerdlingen.