Do I need a German VAT number?
A German VAT registration is required if you plan to store inventory in a German warehouse, whether it is to sell to German or other EU-based customers. This includes using any online sales platforms that manage inventory on your behalf via a German warehouse, including Amazon FBA.
A valid German VAT number is also required to use Amazon.de.
In most cases, international companies registering for a German VAT number are dealing with the trade of physical goods.
Regardless of the location of the applicant, all application documents and any correspondence with the German Tax Authority are only available in German. It is therefore highly recommended for international applicants to seek the advice of a tax provider with an established presence in Germany.
Some basic information is required to start a VAT application for a company:
- Company certificate
- Director’s details, including identification and proof of address*
- Details of any majority shareholders
- Details of business activities in other jurisdictions (e.g. other VAT numbers held)
- Declaration of the types of products sold
If you are planning to sell online:
- Name of any online marketplaces (e.g. Amazon/eBay storefront)
- Business details
- Warehouse details (e.g. Amazon FBA)
If you are applying through a tax provider, a signed Power of Attorney document is also required, as this provides authorisation for your nominated tax provider to act on your behalf.
Most frequent questions and answers
The German Tax Authority will issue a certificate based on where i) the director, or ii) the decision-making process of the company is based. In some cases, the director may be residing in a separate jurisdiction from that of the company, which would result in the certificate being issued for the director’s place of residence instead. For more information, please get in touch with us.
The regional tax office of the German Tax Authority will consider your application, which usually takes several months. Some applications may be much quicker and only take a few months – this depends on the specifics of your application, as each one is assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Once your application is approved, you will be issued with both a local tax number (Steuernummer) and a VAT/GST number for EU cross-border trading.
Once you have obtained your VAT number, you will be obligated to file according to the frequency set by the German Tax Authority.
Non-compliance with your obligations (including filing and payments) can lead to additional financial penalties, and also the risk of automatic deregistration.
TBA Global has an established presence in Germany, meaning that we can help you both navigate the complexities of applying for a German VAT number and fulfil the ongoing obligations that come with holding a VAT number.
The trading of certain goods such as electronics may also fall under Germany’s Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations. If you have any questions relating to German VAT, please check out our FAQ, or contact us at email@example.com for a free one-to-one consultation.