German Tax Obligations for EU Sellers

This information does not constitute tax, legal, or other professional advice and must not be used as such. If you have other questions, please contact your tax, legal, or other professional advisor.

Amendments to existing German VAT legislation become effective on July 1, 2021.  On this page you will learn who is impacted by the amendments and what the new German tax legislation requires. All sellers with VAT obligations in Germany must obtain and provide AbeBooks with their German or EU Union-OSS VAT registration numbers. This will replace the copy of your Tax Certificate you previously submitted to us as required by the German VAT Code (Sec. 22f UStG). Sellers who ship goods to customers in Germany but are not VAT obligated in Germany need to submit a declaration to AbeBooks.

According to the amendments in the German VAT Code (“UStG”), online marketplace operators can be held liable for unpaid VAT generated by sellers trading on the marketplace and fulfilling orders from or to Germany. In order to avoid such liability, marketplaces must either obtain a German or EU Union-OSS VAT registration number or a declaration from sellers fulfilling orders from or to Germany.

Sellers legally-established inside the European Union who do not provide a German or EU Union-OSS VAT registration number, or do not submit a declaration will no longer be able to sell to customers in Germany via AbeBooks.

What to do if you don’t have VAT obligations in Germany

You need to acknowledge a declaration if you fulfill orders from or to Germany but you are not obligated to be tax registered in Germany. The following non-exhaustive list of facts indicate that you have no tax registration obligation in Germany:

  • You are not generating taxable sales in Germany by delivering goods from a German warehouse or any place in Germany. You exclusively ship goods from places outside of Germany.
  • If you ship goods directly from outside the EU to customers in Germany and for all shipments exceeding €150 the customer (or the carrier as the agent of the customer) will make any import declarations to German customs authorities, and the customer will be the sole debtor of any import VAT in line with Sec. 3 para. 8 of the German VAT Code.
  • You ship goods to VAT registered customers in Germany from other EU countries.
  • If you ship goods stored in other EU countries directly to customers in Germany and total distance sales to customers in Europe are less than €10,000 in the current calendar year and have been less than €10,000 in the previous calendar year, across all sales channels (according to Sec. 3c para. 3 of the German VAT Code).

You can provide the declaration in your Members Menu.