Sales tax law (Germany)
|Title:||Sales Tax Act|
|Scope:||Federal Republic of Germany|
|Legal matter:||Tax law|
|Original version from:||July 26, 1918
(RGBl. P. 779)
|Entry into force on:||August 1, 1918|
|New announcement from:||February 21, 2005
( BGBl. I p. 386 )
|Last revision from:||November 26, 1979
( Federal Law Gazette I, p. 1953 )
|Entry into force of the
new version on:
|January 1, 1980|
|Last change by:||
Art. 3 G of June 29, 2020
( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1512, 1514 )
|Effective date of the
|July 1, 2020
(Art. 12 G of June 29, 2020)
|Please note the note on the applicable legal version.|
The sales tax law regulates sales taxation
- of deliveries and other services that a businessmen in Germany to pay as part of his company performs,
- the import of goods into Austria or the Austrian customs exclusion areas Jungholz and Mittelberg , but not into the Swiss customs connection area Büsingen am Hochrhein ( import sales tax ),
- the intra-community acquisition in Germany
for a fee .
Sales tax is subject to sales from deliveries and other services that an entrepreneur provides in Germany against payment within the scope of his company ( UStG), as well as imports and intra-community acquisitions . All of these sales are referred to as taxable sales .
The following cannot be controlled, for example:
- Sales between individuals (they are not entrepreneurs)
- Sales to departments within the company (so-called internal sales)
- Sales among companies within a VAT group
- Own work
- The sale of the business as a whole ( (1a) UStG)
An entrepreneur according to profit .UStG is someone who carries out a commercial or professional activity independently. Any sustainable activity aimed at generating income (intention to generate income) is commercial or professional. In contrast to income tax law, it does not matter whether the company intends to make a
Inland is the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany with the exception of the area of Büsingen am Hochrhein , the island of Helgoland , the free ports , the waters and mud flats between the sovereign border and the respective beach line as well as the German ships and German aircraft in areas that do not belong to any customs area . Abroad within the meaning of this law is the area that is not domestic according to this ( (2) UStG).
Pay is everything that the recipient of the service spends in order to receive the service, but minus sales tax.
Deliveries are services through which the entrepreneur or a third party on his behalf enables the customer or a third party on his behalf to dispose of an item in his own name (Paragraph 1 UStG).
Special cases of delivery
In order to record a movement of goods between two member states of the community for VAT even if the item does not get from one member state to another in the context of a paid delivery, the fact of intra-community transfer was created.
A free delivery of objects ( free value transfer ) can fictitiously lead to a delivery against payment according to Paragraph 1b UStG.
In the case of commission business, there is a delivery between the consignor and the commission agent under sales tax law (Paragraph 3 UStG). In the case of the sales commission, the commission agent delivers to the commission agent and in the case of the purchase commission the commission agent delivers to the commission agent.
A work delivery within the meaning of the Sales Tax Act ( delivery that results from a work contract , whereby the supplier owes both the work and the main material (example: a painter paints and brings color). The work performance must be distinguished from this.Paragraph 4 UStG) is a
If the entrepreneur makes a delivery to a customer and the customer has to return to the delivering entrepreneur by-products or waste products that arise during processing or processing of the objects, there is no exchange. It is only a matter of a delivery, which is determined by the content of what remains for the recipient of the service (Paragraph 5 UStG).
Leasing and hire purchase
Leasing or hire purchase agreements are primarily rental agreements under civil law. The lessor or landlord thus provides another service to the lessee or tenant. However, if the rental object is attributable to the lessee or tenant for income tax purposes, a delivery is made for sales tax purposes.
Delimitation of the term
Other services are those that are not deliveries. From the exclusion wording ofParagraph 9 Clause 1 UStG it follows that another service is usually the deliberate granting of an economic advantage that does not consist in the creation of power of disposal over an object. According to (9) sentence 2 UStG, the other service can consist of failure to act or toleration of an act.
Special cases of other services
Restoration sales represent another service if the service elements predominate qualitatively. To distinguish whether the delivery element or the service element predominates in the distribution of food and beverages, it must always be based on the individual case.
Free other services
Valuations free of charge are equated with other paid services in two cases:
Withdrawal of services : the use of an object assigned to the company, which is entitled to full or partial input tax deduction, by the entrepreneur for non-company purposes or for the private needs of his staff, provided that no attentions are given (Paragraph 9a No. 1 UStG)
Service for the private sector : the provision of another service free of charge by the entrepreneur for purposes outside the company or for the private needs of his staff, as long as no attentions are given ((9a) No. 2 UStG). In this case, it is irrelevant for the tax liability whether the entrepreneur was entitled to input tax deduction in connection with this service.
A work performance within the meaning of the Value Added Tax Act is another service resulting from a work contract , whereby the person performing the work only owes the work and not the main material (example: a painter paints, the house owner provides the color). The factory delivery is to be distinguished from this .
In the performance commission , an entrepreneur is involved in the execution of other services.
Tax tariff or tax rate
- Standard tax rate ( (1) UStG)
- The VAT is 19% of the assessment base for each taxable transaction (16% from July 1 to December 31, 2020).
- Reduced tax rate ( Abs. 2 UStG)
- The tax is reduced to 7% (or 5% from July 1 to December 31, 2020) for certain sales, e.g. B. for
- the delivery of food;
- for milk and mixed milk drinks, but not (other) drinks → (exception: milk and mixed milk drinks with a milk content of more than 75%, bottled water);
- the delivery of books, newspapers and magazines (if suitable for young people, no sexual content);
- the public transport (public transport on routes shorter than 50 km);
- the transport of people in domestic rail traffic ( Paragraph 2 No. 10 lit. a UStG since January 1, 2020);
- the granting, transfer and exercise of rights arising from the copyright law;
- the services from the activity as a dental technician as well as those in No. 14 sentence 4 lit. b UStG designated services of dentists;
- Entrance authorization for theaters, concerts and museums as well as performances by performing artists comparable to theatrical performances and concerts;
- the provision of films for evaluation and showing as well as the film screenings, insofar as the films are marked in accordance with Youth Protection Act or before January 1, 1970 were premiered; (3) No. 1 to 5 UStG in conjunction with (2) No. 1 to 5 of the
- Circus performances, the services from the activity as a showman as well as the sales directly connected with the operation of the zoological gardens;
- the services of special purpose companies of corporations that exclusively and directly pursue non-profit , charitable or church purposes ( AO);
- the rental of living rooms and bedrooms that an entrepreneur provides for short-term accommodation for strangers (hotels), as well as the short-term rental of camping areas.
- Average tax rates ( UStG)
- For certain groups of entrepreneurs, the Federal Minister of Finance has set average rates for the deductible input tax and / or for the VAT to be paid to simplify the taxation procedure:
- for companies with approximately the same conditions and which are not obliged to keep books, both for the deductible input tax and for the tax to be paid;
- for certain corporations, associations of persons and assets within the meaning of the Corporate Income Tax Act ;
- for agricultural and forestry operations (according to UStG 10.7% for agricultural products and 5.5% for forest products).
Sales tax rates
|from ... to||Rule set||Reduced tax rate|
|01/01/1968 - 06/30/1968||10%||5.0%|
|07/01/1968 - 12/31/1977||11%||5.5%|
|01/01/1978 - 06/30/1979||12%||6.0%|
|07/01/1979 - 06/30/1983||13%||6.5%|
|07/01/1983 - 12/31/1992||14%||7.0%|
|01/01/1993 - 03/31/1998||15%||7.0%|
|April 1, 1998 - December 31, 2006||16%||7.0%|
|01/01/2007 - 06/30/2020||19%||7.0%|
|07/01/2020 - 12/31/2020||16%||5.0%|
The sales tax exemptions are essentially regulated inthe UStG. The sales tax exemptions contained there can be divided into three groups:
- Full tax exemptions (§ 4 No. 1–7 UStG): The entrepreneur providing the service retains the full input tax deduction, so that the service is completely relieved of sales tax. This group includes export sales and related services.
- Tax exemptions with option UStG: The entrepreneur can waive the tax exemption under certain conditions in order to be able to claim the input tax deduction. If the entrepreneur does not make use of this option, the sales made will be charged with the sales tax, which applies to the incoming sales, despite the tax exemption. This includes, above all, financial and real estate sales including rental.
- Tax exemptions without option and without input tax deduction (§ 4 No. 8h, 10, 11, 13–28 UStG): Despite the tax exemption, sales are charged with sales tax, which is applicable to incoming sales. This group mainly includes tax exemptions motivated by social policy (health, education, etc.).
In the case of export sales, a distinction must be made between
- intra-community deliveries to other EU countries to other entrepreneurs with a sales tax identification number;
- Deliveries to countries outside the EU (export deliveries or exports ).
Deliveries to private individuals within the EU are not exempt from sales tax as intra-community deliveries. The requirements for both of the above Tax exemptions must be documented by the entrepreneur, otherwise the deliveries will be treated as taxable.
Other important tax exemptions are
- Turnover based on economic and social considerations (e.g. services in the field of human medicine and education);
- Sales that fall under the Land Transfer Tax Act;
- Sales that fall under the Insurance Tax Act;
- Sales that fall under the Racing Betting and Lottery Act;
- most banking services for individuals;
- Housing and property rents;
- Postage for letters and parcels from Deutsche Post AG (since July 1, 2010, this regulation has also applied to postal competitors in the private customer sector);
- Sales in gold, foreign exchange, sorts, cryptocurrencies
Three tax exemptions are regulated outside of the UStG. These are tax exemptions for NATO allies, namely the Offshore Tax Agreement (OffshStA), Article 67 Paragraph 3 of the Supplementary Agreement to the NATO Troop Statute (NATOZAbk) and Article 14 of the Supplementary Agreement for NATO Headquarters (NATO-HQ -EA). From 1990 to 1994 there was a fourth such tax exemption, namely according to Art. 16 of the German-Soviet Troop Residence and Troop Withdrawal Agreement (TTV).
In the case of deliveries and other services and in the case of intra-community acquisitions, sales are measured according to the remuneration ( UStG). There are a few exceptions to this principle, for example:
- The item is sold at a reduced price to a relative or partner. The sales tax must be paid at least on the replacement value ( (5) No. 1 UStG).
- The goods are withdrawn for private consumption. There is no fee here, so the replacement value is used.
- When using business items (typical example of a vehicle), the pro rata costs incurred are used, possibly determined using income tax methods.
- When personnel are used for private purposes, the costs incurred (= wages) are used as a fictitious remuneration for calculating sales tax.
- In the case of barter-like sales, the value of the item received counts as payment.
Creation of the VAT liability
The VAT liability arises in principle (UStG)
- when calculating the tax according to agreed remuneration (target taxation) at the end of the pre-notification period in which the services were performed, except when the remuneration was collected before the service was performed;
- when calculating the tax based on the payments received (actual taxation - UStG) at the end of the pre-registration period in which the payment was received.
- in the case of other services and work performed by an entrepreneur based abroad,
- in the provision of construction work to other entrepreneurs who carry out sustainable construction work themselves.
Margin taxation for travel services
This is a special regulation for tour operators (UStG).
The sales tax assessment basis of the entrepreneur is to be divided: Insofar as the traveler pays the travel price for advance travel services (services provided by other entrepreneurs to the tour operator such as accommodation and meals, tour guide on site, entrance fees, etc.), only the difference between (proportionate) travel price and advance travel expenses (margin) subject to sales tax. An input tax deduction is therefore not possible. The margin is only taxable if the trip is within the European Union , otherwise no sales tax is due.
Own contributions by the entrepreneur (e.g. arrival and departure by the tour operator's own bus) are subject to the general taxation rules of the UStG.
As a tour operator in the sense of this provision, all entrepreneurs in the sense of value added tax who provide travel services, even if the organization of trips is not the main purpose of the company. This can also be, for example, associations that organize a trip for their members.
The differential taxation according to resellers ). In this case, the assessment basis for sales tax is the difference (hence the name) between the sales price (excluding sales tax) and the purchase price for the item, i.e. the seller's margin .UStG is an optional special regulation for the taxation of deliveries of movable tangible objects, provided that no input tax deduction is possible for them (e.g. purchase by private individuals or
The seller must note the application of differential taxation and the type of objects ("used objects / special regulation", "works of art / special regulation" or "collector's items and antiques / special regulation", since 2013) on the invoice. He must provide evidence of the purchase and sales price as well as the tax base for each item sold in his bookkeeping so that the correct calculation of taxes can be checked if necessary. He is not allowed to show sales tax on the invoice, otherwise he has to pay this to the tax office in addition to the differential tax (UStG § 14a Paragraph 6 Sentence 2, UStAE Paragraph 25a.1 Paragraph 16). Even a buyer who is entitled to deduct input tax cannot get a refund of the sales tax from the tax office when applying differential taxation. The seller can, however, waive the differential taxation and apply the standard taxation with recognized sales tax (see example).
In the case of differential taxation, the standard tax rate must always be applied, so that it is often not attractive for goods at the reduced tax rate - 7% in 2018. This particularly affects antiquarian books.
The differential taxation is not limited to used items, but can also apply to new items that have been purchased without recognized sales tax. Further cases are listed in the legal text.
Take a car dealer as an example
A typical example of differential taxation are vehicle dealers who deal in used vehicles that they have bought from private individuals without a VAT certificate:
- A car is bought privately for € 8,000.
- The dealer wants to achieve a margin of € 2000 for repairs, cleaning and other costs.
- With standard taxation, sales tax is calculated on the sum of the purchase price and margin, with differential taxation, on the other hand, only on the margin:
|Standard taxation||Differential taxation|
|Purchase price E||€ 8,000||€ 8,000|
|Margin M||2000 €||2000 €|
|Sales price net||€ 10,000||€ 10,000|
|VAT rate p||19%||19%|
|value added tax||1900 €||€ 380|
|Sales price V||11900 €||10,380 €|
Relationship between regular taxation and differential taxation:
The sales price is therefore reduced in comparison with the "normal" sales price according to regular taxation by the sales tax on the purchase price, which results in a significantly lower purchase price for the buyer. For vehicles that are offered with differential taxation, the price usually includes the comment “VAT. not identifiable " .
If the buyer is entitled to input tax deduction, the standard taxation with declared sales tax of € 1900 is cheaper for him, as he then only has to pay the net sales price of € 10,000 after the input tax deduction. In this case, the seller can waive differential taxation and apply normal taxation. There is no difference for him because he receives the same net sales price in both cases.
Duties of an entrepreneur
Obligation to issue invoices
The entrepreneur has ten duplicates of the invoice that he himself or a third party has issued in his name and for his account, as well as all invoices that he has received or that a service recipient or in his name and for his account a third party has issued To keep for years. The invoices must be legible for the entire period. The retention period begins at the end of the calendar year in which the invoice was issued ( UStG).
The entrepreneur is obliged to make records to determine the tax and the basis for its calculation (UStG).
Tax declaration obligation
Pre-registration and prepayment
Every entrepreneur has up to the 10th day after the end of each pre-registration period a pre-registration according to the officially prescribed form (USt 1 A) by electronic means in accordance with tax code (AO ) in which he has to calculate the tax for the pre-registration period (advance payment) himself ( UStG). Upon request, the tax office can dispense with electronic transmission to avoid undue hardship .paragraph 1 to 3, paragraph 6 and the
- The regular pre-registration period is the quarter.
- The entrepreneur must submit the pre-notification monthly if the VAT for the previous calendar year was more than € 7,500.
- In the year in which the company was founded and in the following calendar year, the entrepreneur must always submit the advance VAT returns on a monthly basis.
- If the tax for the previous calendar year does not exceed € 1,000, the tax office can release the entrepreneur from the obligation to submit advance notifications.
The advance payment is due on the 10th day after the end of the pre-registration period.
Upon request, a permanent extension of the deadline can be approved for the submission of the pre-registration and the advance payment . In this case, the tax office extends the deadline for submitting the VAT advance notification to the 10th day of the second month after the advance notification period. In the case of monthly registration, the permanent extension is only granted after registering a special advance payment of 1/11 of the advance VAT payments of the previous year.
Pre-registrations do not have to be submitted if the entrepreneur is a small business owner .
Example: Advance VAT return for April 2007
|+ At a tax rate of 19%||1000.00 €||€ 190.00|
|+ At the tax rate of 7%||1000.00 €||€ 70.00|
|= Sales tax||€ 260.00|
|./. Input tax amounts from other entrepreneurs||140.00 €|
|= VAT advance payment||€ 120.00|
The advance payment must be made by May 10, 2007 at the latest.
Annual sales tax return
At the end of the calendar year, the entrepreneur must submit an annual tax return ((3) UStG).
Target taxation - actual taxation
Actual taxation means that the sales tax to be paid to the tax office is calculated on the basis of the fees actually received, while the agreed fees are decisive for target taxation. The actual taxation creates a liquidity advantage for the entrepreneur, because he only has to pay the sales tax to the tax office when he has received the payment, and not when the service is provided.
The actual taxation must be applied for. The prerequisite according toUStG is that the entrepreneur
- did not achieve total sales of more than € 600,000 in the previous calendar year or
- is exempt from the tax accounting obligation according to AO or
- Carries out sales from an activity as a member of a liberal profession within the meaning of EStG . (1) No. 1
The input tax can also be deducted from the actual taxation if the service has been provided and a proper invoice is available.
By the 25th day after the end of each calendar month or calendar quarter (reporting period) in which he has carried out intra-Community deliveries of goods or, from January 1, 2010, other services to entrepreneurs in another EU member state, the entrepreneur has to contact the Federal Central Office for To submit a report electronically to taxes ( UStG). Intra- Community deliveries , intra-Community triangular transactions and other services that are not taxable domestically must be reported .
In this message, the assessment bases of all affected services are given, summarized according to the sales tax identification number of the service recipient . In addition, references to intra-Community triangular transactions are to be included ( UStG).
Input tax deduction
The input tax deduction is one of the central terms of the sales tax law ( UStG) and describes the right of an entrepreneur to offset the sales tax invoiced to him (= input tax ) with the sales tax collected by him. The same applies to incurred import sales tax , declared intra-community acquisitions and declared sales tax owed as the recipient of the service .
The prerequisite for the input tax deduction is that the input power is used for taxable sales. So is z. For example, a doctor is not entitled to input tax deduction when purchasing a medical device if he only uses it to carry out tax-free medical treatment (Section 4 No. 14 UstG). If the input sales are only partially used for taxable services, the input tax is only partially deductible. If the doctor thus uses 60% of the device for tax-free medical treatment and leases 40% to a colleague for tax purposes, he could offset 40% of the sales tax charged to him. If the division cannot be clearly defined, this can be done by making an appropriate estimate. For credit institutions whose lending and deposit business is not subject to sales tax, the bank key has established itself as the apportionment method .
If the input tax is higher than the sales tax collected (so-called input tax surplus ), the tax office will reimburse the excess amount. The input tax deduction ensures that the sales tax is borne economically only by the end consumer or by companies that are not entitled to input tax deduction (as in the case of sales from renting and leasing ). Only the added value that arises at every stage of manufacture or trade of a product or other service is subject to taxation. In the case of non-taxable internal sales and the calculation of personal contributions , no sales tax is due. Certain groups of entrepreneurs can use the input tax flat rate to determine their input tax credit as a flat rate.
The prerequisites for the input tax deduction are:
- Receipt of the service for the company or payment prior to receipt of the service or
- Possession of a proper original invoice with all mandatory information in accordance with Abs. 4 UStG, issued by the supplier, or
- Possession of an electronic invoice , if authenticity, integrity and human readability are given, or
- Have a receipt with all mandatory information or
- Submission of a settlement credit by the service recipient (authorized by law or contract) or
- Settlement in the contract (e.g. rental contract) with all mandatory information of Paragraph 4 UStG and in addition to proof of payment or
- Payment of import sales tax or
- Taxation of an intra-community acquisition by the service recipient or
- Use of input power for deduction sales and not for exclusion sales
Possibly. there are no deduction restrictions.
No input tax deduction
- No input tax can be deducted on non-deductible business expenses . It refers to
- Expenditures that fall under the prohibition of sharing in No. 1 EStG,
- Gifts ( (5) No. 1 EStG),
- Guest houses ( (5) No. 3 EStG),
- Hunting, fishing operations, yachts ( (5) No. 4 EStG),
- Life-related expenses ( (5) No. 7 EStG).
Deductible sales are sales that generally entitle input tax deduction ((3) of the UStG). It refers to
- taxable sales,
- Tax-exempt sales according to
No. 1 to 7 UStG,
- in particular exempt intra-community supplies and
- exempt export deliveries,
- Sales abroad that would be taxable or tax-exempt according to No. 1 to 7 UStG if they were carried out in Germany.
Excluded sales are sales that do not entitle to input tax deduction ((2) UStG). these are
- Tax-exempt sales according to
No. 8 to 28 UStG
- the landlord,
- the insurance agent and financial service provider,
- of doctors and care facilities,
- the state authorities, cultural and educational institutions,
- the lottery,
if the exemption has not been effectively waived (UStG);
- Sales of a small business ( UStG), unless the application of the small business regulation has been waived.
Small business owner
Sales tax is not charged if a company's sales plus the applicable sales tax did not exceed € 22,000 in the previous calendar year (2019: € 17,500) and are not expected to exceed € 50,000 in the current calendar year. The entrepreneur can waive the application of the small business regulation for five years by declaring to the tax office (UStG).
Liability of the entrepreneur
The entrepreneur is liable for the tax from a previous transaction, insofar as this was shown in an invoice issued in accordance with carousel fraud , in which certain criminals obtain unjustified tax refunds by exploiting the systematic weaknesses of the net all-phase sales tax system.UStG, the issuer of the invoice has not paid the tax shown in accordance with his preconceived intention or has deliberately prevented himself from paying the tax and the entrepreneur was aware of his incoming sales when the contract was concluded or should have had it with the care of a prudent businessman ( UStG). Ultimately, the provision serves to combat so-called
Sales tax identification number
The Federal Central Tax Office (BZSt) gives entrepreneurs a sales tax identification number ( USt-IdNr. , UStG) upon request . It is used to process intra-Community services after the border controls at the internal borders of the EC and thus the collection of import sales tax in the Community area under sales tax law ceased to exist on January 1, 1993 .
Since then, the tax authorities of the country of destination have been taxing the intra-Community delivery of goods to the purchaser in the sales tax control procedure (cf. Paragraph 1 No. 5 UStG). In the country of origin, the deliveries are treated as tax-free. In order to ensure taxation in the recipient country, extensive data exchange takes place via the VAT information exchange system (VIES). For this purpose, the VAT ID number must also be included in the summary reports to the BZSt. of the purchaser ( Paragraph 1, Paragraph 7 No. 1 lit. a UStG). The Federal Central Tax Office transmits the issued VAT identification numbers and the data they need for the VAT control to the state tax authorities (Section 27a (2) sentence 2 UStG).
The taxpayer has to calculate the amount of sales tax or the input tax refund claim several times in the calendar year, report it to the tax office as part of the sales tax advance notification and pay the sales tax ( self-assessment ) ( (1) UStG).
The same self-assessment procedure is to be used for the calendar year as the tax period. The taxpayer must calculate the annual values in the sales tax return and report them to the tax office. The sales tax prepayments are deducted so that only the remaining sales tax has to be paid to the tax office or an input tax surplus is reimbursed by the tax office ( (3) UStG).
Local tax office
For the sales tax is the tax office in charge of the district from the entrepreneurs have business in the Federal Territory wholly or mostly operates ( AO). In the case of foreign companies that are active in Germany, according to the country of origin principle, responsibility results from Sales Tax Responsibility Ordinance (UStZustV).
- Lippross: Value Added Tax , 20th edition 2000, p. 137.
- Official justification for the change on BT-Drs. 19/14338 , p. 28, note: from January 1, 2020, reduced rate also in long-distance passenger rail transport through the law to implement the 2030 climate protection program in tax law (KlSchStG) from January 1, 2020.
- Tobias Weidemann: Sales tax on Bitcoin? Federal Ministry of Finance creates clarity. In: t3n. March 5, 2018, accessed June 9, 2019 .
- Sales tax identification number website of the Federal Tax Office, accessed on October 31, 2019
- UStAE 2010 1.10. (To § 1 UStG)
- Scope of domestic sales tax law Website of the General Customs Directorate (GZD), accessed on October 31, 2019
- Summary reports website of the Federal Central Tax Office, accessed on October 31, 2019