How to register for VAT in Germany (links and explanation)
Aktualisiert: 30. Nov 2018
Please find below some links and some information on how to register for VAT in Germany. We will continue to improve and expand this post.
There are several possibilities that lead to an obligation to register for VAT in Germany, e.g.
selling goods located in Germany at the time of the sale, e.g. goods located in a warehouse in Germany
B2C sales to Germany from other EU countries that exceed EUR 100k per year (distance sales)
Certain chain supplies (multiple sales with only one physical transport of the goods)
Although the responsibility for foreign (VAT) tax payers has been assigned to German tax office by country of residence you should not automatically assume that the officials at the tax office speak your native language (or even English).
Other than that the officials at the tax offices are generally trying to be helpful and the German tax administration is quite lenient compared to some other countries when it comes to e.g. missed deadlines and late registration.
Local VAT Registration (obtaining a taxpayer's id. number)
The first step ist to find the responsible tax office for your home country. The responsibility for the VAT obligations for foreign countries has been assigned to a number of different local tax offices. Please find here (link by the chamber of commerce Hamburg) a list of the tax offices by country with links to the tax office responsible. Often the link will direct you to the respective registration form. These forms may be available in your own language or at least in English. If not you may use our translation of the form for Swiss companies as a guideline (Link).
If your country is not included in the list (e.g. China, India) the tax office responsible for your VAT is the tax office Berlin Neukölln. Please find the link to the website of the tax office here.
Please note that this represents the current (2018) legislation. From 2019 on the rules were considerably tightened and doing sales via an online platform (e.g. Amazon) for goods located in Germany (e.g. in an Amazon warehouse) will not be possible without a German VAT registration.
When the registration is completed you will receive your general taxpayer's id. number ("Steuernummer"). Important: This is not the VAT id. number necessary for B2B transactions with other EU member states.
Federal VAT registration (VAT id. number)
Sometimes the local tax office handles the application for a VAT id. number. If not (generally the case with tax payers not based in Germany), you can apply for the VAT id. number here: Application VAT id. number
Submit the form with:
"Absenden" / "Drucken"
If the submission does not work (the form has in my experience a tendency not to work with foreign applicants), you could e.g. print out the form and send it by:
Bundeszentralamt für Steuern Dienstsitz Saarlouis 66738 Saarlouis
++49 228 406 3801
to the federal tax office.
If you have any additional questions please do not hesitate to contact us.