Intra-community acquisition (Germany)

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The intra-community acquisition (abbreviated igE ) is the counterpart to the intra-community delivery or the intra-community transfer . With the help of these sales tax regulations it is achieved that deliveries between entrepreneurs are generally taxed in the country of the purchaser (country of destination principle ). This principle applies uniformly in the European Union in order to achieve sales taxation in the country of end consumption.

An intra-community acquisition can also be made by private individuals if new vehicles (land, water and air vehicles) are acquired from another EU country.

Justification for taxation

The legal instrument of intra-community acquisition, corresponding to intra-community delivery, has replaced the customs law applicable up to and including 1992 in the individual member states of the then European community . It is the most important part of the European internal market in terms of tax law , because instead of customs clearance at the borders of the member states, the purchaser has to pay sales tax as a result of the taxable igE.

Legal basis

Requirements for an intra-community acquisition

In Germany, intra-Community acquisitions are regulated in Section 1a of the Sales Tax Act. A business must meet the following requirements in order to justify an intra-community acquisition:

Entry requirement

The item delivered must physically move from one Member State to another. If, for example, the item is destroyed in the member state in which the transport began, there is no intra-community delivery and no intra-community acquisition.

Acquirer requirement

The purchaser, who has to pay tax on the intra-community acquisition, must acquire the item for his company. By giving the supplier his VAT identification number , he signals that this requirement has been met.

In principle, the buyer must not be a small business owner . If the purchaser carries out tax-free sales (e.g. medical treatment by a doctor), a differentiation must be made. Like private individuals, these so-called semi - entrepreneurs pay the sales tax, which is payable in the country of origin, to the supplier and do not have to worry about income tax in Germany. As soon as this entrepreneur has acquisitions from other EU countries worth more than € 12,500 per year ( acquisition threshold ), this simplification rule does not apply and the entrepreneur must apply for a sales tax identification number and pay tax on intra-community acquisitions. This group of people can voluntarily waive this simplification rule. This waiver binds the entrepreneur for two years. To exercise the waiver, it is sufficient to present the supplier's VAT identification number . This option makes sense if the domestic sales tax is lower than the supplier's sales tax rate.

In the case of the intra-community delivery of new vehicles, deliveries to private individuals are also an intra-community acquisition, so that the purchaser must carry out the acquisition tax ( Section 1b ).

Supplier requirement

The supplier must not be a small business owner and must provide the delivery within his company. The supplier confirms this requirement by making the delivery tax-free by specifying his sales tax identification number.

Spend special case

Section 1a (2) UStG is the counterpart to intra-community transportation. If an entrepreneur is active in several countries, he must pay tax on an intra-community acquisition as soon as he permanently transfers an item to another EU country, for example because he drives items to a trade fair and sells them there. The entrepreneur must therefore be registered in several Member States and have corresponding VAT ID numbers. This regulation is again based on the country of destination principle.

Place of intra-community acquisition

According to § 3d , the place of intra-community acquisition is where the item is at the end of the journey. So if an item is transported from France to Germany, the place is in Germany and the intra-Community acquisition is taxable in Germany. If the purchaser uses a different sales tax ID number than the German one, an acquisition must also be taxed in the country of the ID number. The intra-community acquisition in Germany is not covered by this, it must continue to be taxed. For the second purchase in the issuing country of the ID number, no input tax deduction is possible according to the ECJ and BFH rulings. This is how the country of destination principle is to be enforced.

Taxability, tax exemptions

If all the requirements are met, the acquisition is taxable in Germany in accordance with Section 1 (1) No. 5 UStG . The acquisition can be tax-free according to § 4b UStG. The tax exemptions for deliveries according to § 4 do not apply.

Tax base, tax rate

As with domestic deliveries, the assessment basis according to § 10 is the remuneration; the purchase price is applied when the goods are shipped. Depending on the goods, the tax rate in Germany is 7 or 19%.

Tax origin, tax debtor, input tax deduction

The tax arises when the invoice is issued, at the latest in the month following the purchase ( Section 13 (1) No. 6 UStG ). The buyer owes the tax. At the same time, the purchaser can deduct the sales tax as input tax, if there are no exclusions (for example, if the goods are used for certain tax-free sales). The same principles apply here as for the input tax deduction from domestic deliveries to the purchaser (cf. § 15 Paragraph 1 Clause 1 No. 3 UStG).

Individual evidence

  1. BFH: Intra-Community acquisitions put to the test - No input tax deduction if an incorrect VAT ID number is used Deloitte Tax News dated February 7, 2011.