CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS

Germany: requirements to produce receipts for deliveries within the European Union through confirmation receipts from January 1st, 2014

On October 1st, 2013, the requirements to produce receipts for deliveries within the European Union (EU) were amended and a transition period until the end of the year introduced. From January 1st, 2014, the confirmation receipts (or, if necessary, the expressly permitted alternatives for proof) will come into use.
 
A delivery within the European Union will only qualify as such if the following requirements within the meaning of section 6(a), paragraph 1 of Germany's Value-added (VAT) Tax Act (UStG) are satisfied:

  • The item has successfully been delivered from one member state to another;
  • The person acquiring the item is a business person who has acquired it for his business. Alternatively, the person is a legal person who is not a business person yet has been issued with a value-added tax (VAT) identification number;
  • The recipient is liable to tax in another member state for an EU acquisition.

If the above criteria are satisfied, a delivery within the EU exempt from tax in accordance with section 4(1), sub-paragraph b of the Value-added Tax (VAT) Act (UStG) exists. The performing business person is required to prove that the said criteria have been fulfilled. The particulars thereof are regulated in the Value-added Tax (VAT) Implementation Regulation (section 6(a), sub-paragraph 3, UStDV).

The business person delivering the item can prove, with legal certainty, the delivery of the item to another member state through the production of the confirmation receipt as is required to be exempt from tax as a delivery within the EU under section 6, paragraph a of Germany's Value-added Tax (VAT) Act (UStG). The confirmation receipt must include the following information:

  • The name and address of the purchaser;
  • The quantity of items delivered and the customary description which must include, if applicable, the registration number of vehicles within the meaning of section 1(b), sub-paragraph 2 of the Value-added Tax (Vat) Act (UStG);
  • In the case where the business person or the purchaser dispatches the item, the place and the month of the receipt of the item in the other EU country and in the case where the purchaser dispatches the item, the place and month of the arrival of the item in the other EU country;
  • the date on which the confirmation was issued;
  • The signature of the purchaser or of a person authorised by him. In the case where the confirmation receipt is communicated electronically, it is not a mandatory requirement that it be signed insofar as it is clear that the electronic communication began within the competence of the purchaser or a person authorised by the purchaser.

The contents of the confirmation receipt must not necessarily result from a receipt due to the necessary information being able to be proven from various documents. Furthermore, the confirmation receipt may be issued as an invoice. Therein, the transactions may be summarised for a maximum one quarter.

Moreover, proof that an item has in fact arrived in another member state may be proven,  independently from the delivery of the goods, through the following evidence:

  • Through a dispatch receipt in the case where the item is dispatched by the business person or the purchaser. In particular, a consignment note in accordance with commercial law (e.g a CMR consignment note) which is signed by the person who ordered the freight services and by the recipient, confirming the receipt of the item or a bill of lading (section 17(a), sub-paragraph 3, number 1,  Value-added Tax (VAT) Implementation Regulation (UStDV));
  • Through alternative proof usual in commercial practice in the case where the item  is dispatched by the business person or the purchaser. This particularly includes an invoice, usual in commercial practice, from the instructed carrier which in addition to providing information on the insurance of the service and the contracting parties, specifies when (the month) he delivered the item to the customer in the other member state (section 17(a), sub-paragraph 3, number 1, letter b, Value-added Tax (VAT) Implementation Regulation (UStDV));
  • Through a written or electronic order form and a delivery record produced by those instructed with delivering the item which proves an uninterrupted account of the item until its receipt by the customer (section 17(a), sub-paragraph 3, number 1, Value-added Tax (VAT) Implementation Regulation (UstDV));
  • A confirmation receipt from a postal service provider detailing their taking of the item addressed to the purchaser and proof of the payment of the delivery where the item is sent by post and an electronic record is not possible (section 17(a), sub-paragraph 3, number 1, letter d of the Value-added Tax (VAT) Implementation Regulation (UStDV));
  • In the case where the delivery item is sent by the purchaser: proof of the payment for the delivery of the item from the purchaser's bank account as well as a receipt from the carrier instructed. The latter is to include information on the insurance of the service and the contracting parties as well as the acceptance to transport the item to another member state (section 17(a), paragraph 3, sub paragraph 2, Value-added Tax (VAT) Implementation Regulation (UStDV)).

 

 

 

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